Oct 31 2012 By Ian Proctor
PRIMARY school pupils in Harrow are leaner and enjoy a better diet thanks to a successful healthy eating programme – at a time when other areas of the country report rising rates of demand for extra large uniforms.
Since the introduction by Harrow Council and NHS Harrow of the Eatwell programme to the borough’s 16 children’s centres in 2008, the percentage of children categorised as obese has dropped from from 10.6 per cent from 2009/2010 to seven per cent in 2010/2011, according to figures recently published by NHS North West London.
This figure is against a national average of 11 per cent.
One household to benefit from the scheme was mum-of-two Kajal Patel, who attended Eatwell with her daughter Khushi, three, at Pinner Wood Children’s Centre at Pinner Wood School, Latimer Gardens, and with her son, Sohum, two, at The Pinner Centre in Chapel Lane.
She said: “My daughter and I attended the 12-week Eatwell course and we absolutely loved it. For my kids it was about seeing other children eat different types of food that made all the difference.
“We come from an Asian background and generally cook Asian food at home but this course has broadened my children’s horizons and they are much more adventurous with what they like to eat.”
The Eatwell course encourages families to take part in exercise classes together at Hillview Children’s Centre in Grange Road, South Harrow, with weekly weigh-in sessions and it monthly drop-in sessions on nutrition.
Harrow Council’s cabinet member for children’s services Councillor Mitzi Green (Labour), said: “Healthy children make better learners so the benefits are clear both physically and academically and the statistics clearly show a drop in childhood obesity in Harrow which is excellent against the backdrop of a rise nationally.”