Dietitians share their nutrition expertise to support 'Food and Fun' scheme for youngsters
Youngsters are staying healthy this summer thanks to dietitians who are supporting the All Wales roll out of the School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP), ‘Food and Fun’.
‘Food and Fun’ is a quality assured school based scheme that provides healthy meals, food and nutrition education, physical activity and enrichment sessions to children in areas of social deprivation in Wales.
Latest figures show 29.5% of children aged 4-5 living in North Wales are classified as either overweight or obese (Child Measurement Programme, 2018), with higher prevalence seen in more deprived communities. Figures also show that 28% of children are living in poverty in Wales (Welsh Government, 2018).
Encouraging children from a young age to develop good eating habits that they can take through life is essential. Offering education about food and nutrition in a fun and interactive way helps children and their families to build knowledge and confidence to make healthy choices and enjoy eating nutritious food together.
This exciting scheme has been in place at Ysgol Glancegin in Maesgeirchen this summer and has seen a number of children attend along with their parents.
Beverley Fisher, Public Health Dietitian for Gwynedd and Anglesey, said: “We’ve been working closely with local Healthy Schools teams and have facilitated accredited nutrition training for teaching assistants and teachers and put together lots of educational nutrition games and activities to play with the children in the Food and Fun sessions.
“Over the long summer holidays some families struggle to afford or access food that provides a healthy diet and some children may feel isolated and miss out on the intellectual stimulation school provides in term time.
“I am extremely proud of the collaborative work between Ysgol Glancegin and Gwynedd Council Education Department in their support of the scheme that helps to bridge this gap during the summer.”
Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Education, Councillor Gareth Thomas said: “We are delighted to be leading on this exciting scheme at Ysgol Glancegin in Maesgeirchen. This is the first time we have offered this kind of free holiday club which offers a range of fun activities and healthy food for children and it has obviously proven very popular with families in this area of Bangor.
“The scheme has also included a weekly family session where parents and siblings can join in the fun and attend a lunch session. The project has been supported financially by the Council and the Welsh Local Government Association and we will be considering how we can expand this successful models to other areas in the future.”
PHOTOGRAPH: Youngsters from Ysgol Glancegin enjoying a healthy meal during the summer holidays through the SHEP scheme.
Child Measurement Programme (2018) http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/67795
Welsh Government (2018) https://gov.wales/statistics-and-research/households-below-average-income/?lang=en