New initiative bids to reduce obesity levels

Health chiefs are today launching their latest bid to drive down levels of obesity among school children and young families in Suffolk.

The new Change4Life initiative aims to make the county fitter and encourage youngsters under the age of 11 to lead a healthier lifestyle.

Latest figures show 14.5% of schoolchildren in Year 6 in Suffolk are obese – while levels in Ipswich are among some of the highest in the east of England.

The National Child Measurement Programme for 2008/9 indicated 19.6% of four and five-year-olds in the town and 28% of 10 and 11-year-olds were overweight or obese. Meanwhile, the latest Department of Health profiles show that nearly one in four adults in Ipswich have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30 – the healthy range is between 19.5 and 25.

Health chiefs are determined for the situation to improve and today Ipswich will host its very own Change4Life roadshow – one of a number of events being held across the region.


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The aim is to bring the healthy lifestyle message to young families in a way that is fun and accessible.

Dr Peter Bradley, director of public health for NHS Suffolk and Suffolk County Council, said: “It takes a lot for people to start moving more and eating more healthily – yet it is so vital for their future health and that of their families.

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“Levels of obesity in Ipswich are higher than the regional average, so the more of the town’s residents who get to know about Change4Life now, the better the long-term health of everyone will be.”

The Change4Life roadshow, which is supported by Ipswich Town Football Club, will start at 11am on the Cornhill and feature a special demonstration from 12-year-old soccer whiz kid Josh Clancy and displays from over-50s keep fit classes and the Lait Dance Club.

A nutritionist will also be on hand to show groups of children how to taste and enjoy healthy foods, while families will also be able to pick up tips on improving eating habits and getting more active.

It will complement the work currently being carried out by the Activ8it Plus initiative, which is run by the Ipswich Town Community Trust for children aged 12 to 16.

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