Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

Community urged towards 'Healthy Weight'

Children taking part in Healthy Weight initiative in Viewpark
School children in Viewpark will get lessons on healthy eating

A new approach to healthy eating and exercise, based on a successful French initiative, is being adopted by residents of a Lanarkshire town.

Viewpark in North Lanarkshire has been chosen as the region's first Healthy Weight Community.

It is one of eight locations which have received funding from the Scottish government to take part in the scheme.

The aim is to bring communities together to work on the problem of childhood obesity.

The French project EPODE (Preventing Childhood Obesity Together) and its predecessor Villes Santés reduced obesity rates by about 25%.

North Lanarkshire Council said Viewpark was chosen for the project because it was a "microcosm" of the region with "comparable mixes of challenges and opportunities".

A cookery bus will visit local schools to promote healthy recipes.

We have the potential to lead the way in developing community-led approaches to promoting healthy weight and tackling obesity
Mary Castles
North Lanarkshire Council

North Lanarkshire Council successfully bid for a share of £1.4m of funding for the project.

Sites in Dundee, Dumfries, Glasgow, North and East Ayrshire, West Lothian, and East Renfrewshire will also take part.

Council leader Jim McCabe said: "We will focus activities in our nurseries and schools and linking this with activities in the community directed at children, young people and families.

"Promoting healthy weight and tackling obesity means changing our environments and supporting healthy living using wide-ranging levels of co-ordinated action."

Mary Castles, director of housing and social work services, said: "North Lanarkshire has the potential to lead the way in developing community-led approaches to promoting healthy weight and tackling obesity."

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