UCL News


UCL in the News: Child obesity scheme 'a success'

22 April 2007

Encouraging families to adopt a healthier lifestyle may help to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity, a new study suggests.


Youngsters who trialled a nine-week programme with their parents which involved exercise, nutrition, motivation and positive thinking were still benefiting from the scheme 12 months later. …

"Thirty per cent of UK children are now considered to be obese or overweight. It is an immense public health issue in both immediate and long term health," said Professor Alan Lucas, director of the Medical Research Council Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at the UCL Institute of Child Health (UCL ICH).

He added: "Obesity costs the nation £7 billion a year. This popular community-based programme has the potential to underpin effective national strategies for obesity treatment and prevention."

Paul Sacher [UCL ICH], research director of the programme called MEND developed the healthy lifestyle scheme with Dr Paul Chadwick [UCL Epidemiology & Public Health], a specialist clinical psychologist. …

Mr Sacher said: … "Sustaining a healthy lifestyle is the Holy Grail of health and fitness. The MEND programme is not a diet but rather helps overweight children and their families build a foundation for healthy living - for life." …

MEND - Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! - was adopted by 107 families during the trial but it is now being rolled out across the UK, with funding for over 300 sites in England alone.

PA News