FRESH attitude to healthy lifestyles for local young people
FRESH (food, relaxation, exercise, self-esteem and health) is a 12 week healthy lifestyle programme delivered by the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) in partnership with Omagh District Council and is funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA).
FRESH was recently piloted with 12 year nine pupils from schools in the Omagh area. The programme ran twice a week in Omagh Youth Centre and gave participants the opportunity to learn about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including being more active and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Lesley Finlay, Health Improvement Officer, Western Trust Health Improvement Department highlighted: “FRESH encourages young people to make positive changes to their nutrition and become more physically active. The programme is about encouraging our young people to adopt healthier behaviours and to feel good about themselves, whilst having fun and making new friends.”
Shauna Robinson, Nutritionist with the Western Trust’s Nutrition and Dietetics Service, co-ordinated delivery of the programme in partnership with the Western Trust’s School Nursing Service, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Omagh District Council Active Communities coaches.
Shauna emphasised: “the holistic approach of the programme overall was very successful. It was also an education process for those delivering the programme as well as the children because they offered an insight into the difficulties they face daily in trying to make healthier choices. FRESH required commitment from both the children and their parents and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all those involved for their hard work and enthusiasm.”
A parent commented of one of the participants said: “I feel fortunate that my child was offered the opportunity to attend the FRESH project. Although she felt anxious at first, all staff running the project were extremely kind and in tune with teenage behaviour. My child really enjoyed the variety of physical activity which was carefully designed to appeal each week to different tastes.
The learning sessions for parent and child were helpful and informative. My child and I have been left with great enthusiasm for continuing on with exercise and healthy lifestyle.”
One of the young people who participated added: “Doing a lot of exercises and activities had been great and I now know I can be good at sports like uni-hoc, it was really worthwhile taking part.”