13 March 2019
Making the right lifestyle choices a habit during childhood can lead to a happy and healthy life. That is the message of a new campaign led by S4C health transformation series FFIT Cymru, which is being shared with primary schools across Wales.
The Welsh Government consultation document, Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales, which was published in January, revealed that 28 per cent of children aged between four and five in Wales are overweight or obese. Children who are obese at four and five years old are also 80 per cent likely to be obese during adulthood.
To coincide with Public Health Wales' Healthy Schools Plan message, Camau Bach, Newid Mawr - Small Steps, Big Changes is a campaign teaching schoolchildren to make everyday decisions that can positively impact their long-term health.
The aim is for primary schools across Wales to sign up to the campaign during the next series of FFIT Cymru, which starts on Tuesday 2 April, on S4C. Schools taking part will be invited to appear during the series to share their progress and suggest their own activities to viewers.
One of the contributors to the consultation document was Sioned Quirke. As one of Wales' leading experts on weight management, Sioned runs an obesity clinic for adults and children and is also the expert dietician of the S4C health and transformation series, FFIT Cymru.
Sioned and FFIT Cymru presenter Lisa Gwilym recently visited Ysgol Gynradd Henllan primary school, in Denbighshire, and Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Gymraeg Llantrisant primary school in Rhondda Cynon Taf, to share the campaign's messages with the schoolchildren. The FFIT Cymru cameras will return to the schools before the end of the series to see how big an impact these small changes have made over a two-month period.
Sioned Quirke said: "Camau Bach, Newid Mawr is designed to teach children to make simple changes that they can keep doing every day - simple, sustainable steps such as; adopting a 'daily exercise' in the classroom; drinking tap water as opposed to sugary drinks; and teaching children some simple cookery of healthy dishes.
"FFIT Cymru received a fantastic response last year, and not just from adults. So many schools got involved with the exercise and diet plans and they were eager to take part again this year. By getting schoolchildren involved with the Camau Bach, Newid Mawr campaign, we hope that they can encourage the same small changes in their families, that could make a big difference in the long run."
Welsh Government Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething said: "We all want the best for our children and to ensure that they live healthy and happy lives. Children's health is a key focus of our consultation Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales.
"There is no overnight solution to obesity, but by co-operating and sending out the right messages about health, fitness and nutrition through campaigns such as FFIT Cymru's Camau Bach Newid Mawr, we can begin to tackle one of the biggest public health challenges facing Wales."
Welsh Government Education Secretary, Kirsty Williams said: "Physical Education is a vital part of the school curriculum.
"I believe that the opportunity to take part in sports, in school and outside, plays an essential role in a child's development.
"Our new curriculum will contain the Health and Well-being Area of Learning and Experience, which emphasises the importance of physical activity in our childdren's physical and mental wellbeing. This will aid their development and ensure that they grow to become confident and healthy individuals."
To follow FFIT Cymru's diet and exercise plans, visit www.s4c.cymru/ffitcymru, or follow @ffitcymru on Facebook and Twitter.