Who would have thought that learning to be fit and healthy could be fun? Earlier this year that’s exactly what happened to eight-year-old Layla from Tweed Heads.
Layla was part of a group who participated in the Go4Fun program, which is a free healthy-living program for kids to become fitter, healthier and happier.
The program has been specifically designed for children aged 7–13 years and their parents, to deliver sustained improvements in the families’ diet, fitness levels and overall health but the program and focuses on practical, fun learning.
Go4Fun sessions are delivered twice a week for two hours after school. The first hour is an interactive discussion and involves activities about nutrition and behaviour change. The second hour consists of games-based exercises and of fun activities. The program encourages a family approach and it is important that the parent or a carer attend all sessions with the child.
Layla says she learned a lot of interesting things and also made some new friends. ‘I learned that sometimes when you feel hungry you might not be. You might be thirsty instead or just bored. I also got to do some fun activities and we played games. I got really good at doing the hula-hoop. I would love to do Go4Fun again.’
The program is not a diet and does not encourage rapid weight loss in children. The idea is about empowerment; this happens by putting the child at the centre of a range of ways to make healthy lifestyle changes in terms of physical activity, food, self-confidence, body image and personal development.
It is hoped that children who do the program can lose weight naturally and thereby build a foundation for healthy living – for life.
For more information, search Go4Fun at www.healthykids.nsw.gov.au.
Image: Layla with sister Mia and mum Lynda with Go4Fun facilitator Corinne Martin