A WIGAN mother believes she has found the key to tackling childhood obesity.
And Natalie Elvy has backed her convictions with the launch of a new weight loss scheme aimed at helping youngsters make healthier choices.
Given recent reports that childhood obesity is higher than the national average in Wigan, success for the scheme would be most welcome.
Family Affair allows young people aged 11 to 15 to join for free if they attend with a paying parent or guardian who is responsible for their meals, and have the permission of their GP or nurse.
Natalie who has lost more than three stones through the slimming group, was spurred on by her own experiences as a child growing up with weight issues.
The 30-year-old mother-of-three said: “My weight problem started when I was 11 and I was bullied at secondary school.
“I feel if there was a programme back then that welcomed young adults with a friendly, non-judgmental atmosphere and given family support, there is a strong chance I wouldn’t have gone on in my later years to suffer with my own weight problem.
“Earlier this year, I felt self conscious picking my children up from school, as they would get bullied for their mum being fat.
“So at 18st, 8lb, I joined Slimming World and lost more than three stone, and now it’s time for me to help and support others who may be struggling.
“The Family Affair programme, which works in conjunction with Slimming World, is all about young people and their families working together to make healthier food choices and get more active.
“In a group, young people are praised for switching some of their less healthy snacks and meals for more nutritional ones, rather than for losing weight. “The overall aim of the plan isn’t to lose weight, but for young people to start forming healthier habits that stay with them into adulthood.
“Groups are structured to encourage the young person to do their own thinking and make their own decisions about food and exercise routines. The changes they make mean they can still enjoy all the usual things with friends so they never feel deprived or left out”
“By providing long-term support, we’re able to help young people and their families to see what they can achieve.”
New research shows that the support given at a local slimming club is effective at helping youngsters to make healthier choices and that 19 per cent of children in the UK are so severely overweight that it was affecting their health and happiness.
For more information about the Family Affair scheme, call Natalie on 01942 831835.
The Slimming World group runs every Monday at Swinley Labour Club, Coppull Lane, at 7pm.
Anyone wanting to join the Family Affair programme needs to contact their GP or nurse to discuss and obtain their full support and permission.