Preston City Council is running SMILE - a family healthy lifestyle programme that Supports young people to Move more, Improve Lifestyles and Eat well.
The initiative is part of a research pilot project in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University, but more recruits are needed in the Preston, South Ribble and West Lancashire area for the next programme.
SMILE is a fun programme that encourages families to make the changes that they want for eating well, moving more and feeling happier. Each week there will be games and activities for the children to take part in.
SMILE has been developed to meet the needs of overweight children aged 8 to 12 along with their parents, following extensive consultation with local families and health professionals and it is based on the latest research evidence.
Cabinet member for culture and leisure, Councillor Veronica Afrin, said:
“The SMILE programme takes a novel approach and works with families to identify and breakdown their barriers to eating well and being active. It supports them to identify what lifestyle changes they want to make and gives them the tools to sustain those changes.”
Emma and her family from Whittle-le-Woods have been taking part in the SMILE programme. Emma commented:
“We were referred to the SMILE programme by my son’s dietician and he was keen to join to improve his fitness.
“Initially I was hoping that SMILE would be something he could engage with and would help educate him, what actually happened was that it educated the whole family. The information, advice and guidance given on the course helped us make important and necessary changes to the way we live, which has impacted in a positive way for everyone in the family.
“The support given through SMILE has meant that we have the awareness and tools to make the required changes towards a healthier lifestyle, in what we eat and drink and also in our levels of activity. The family as a whole are a lot happier with the way we live now. And whilst SMILE may seem like a big commitment, it is well worth the time.
“We have all really enjoyed attending the sessions and my son looked forward to going every week and he made new friends.”
Families can self-refer on to the programme by contacting Alison Watts firstname.lastname@example.org or 01772 906187. Alternatively, parents can ask their GP or other health professional to refer them. For more information visit www.preston.gov.uk/smile or www.smilefamilies.co.uk.