Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Overweight children get fat fighting tips from firefighters

New figures show that Great Yarmouth in Norfolk has among the highest percentage of overweight children.

East Coast Community Healthcare's (ECCH) Childhood Healthy Weight Service is taking new measures to combat the issue.

They've enlisted the help of Norfolk Fire Service to put overweight children through their paces in weekly sessions that are fun and a good way to get fit.

"They run around, running the hose out, doing some activities that we do day in day out and they really enjoy it. We also have them crawling around in the BA chamber with a torch and those who are scared of the dark and tunnels and that soon become ok with it and they have great fun. At the same time they're exercising and burning off calories and getting fitter and that's what we want.

– Thaine Hacon, Norfolk Fire Service

ECCH has also launched a new mobile web app to give parents and children recipe and keep fit ideas. The app (www.chws.info) includes a body mass index (BMI) calculator.

Figures just released from the National Child Measurement Programme show nearly a quarter of 4 to 5 year olds (24.6%) and more than a third of 10 to 11 year olds (35.5%) measured in Great Yarmouth were overweight or very overweight. The average for Norfolk is 22.3% and 32.1% respectively.

"In adulthood there are lots of issues around obesity. Diabetes, heart disease, cetain cancers etc. Working with families and children as early as possible is really key to try to prevent siutations becoming any worse. Also there's the social and psychological factors in there as well, around children's self esteem and we focus quite a lot on that too"

– Steph Enrich, Manager, Childhood Healthy Weight Services

Obesity costs the NHS more than £4 billion a year so taking steps to prevent children growing into overweight adults will benefit us all.