Education the way forward

EDUCATING youngsters is the key to tackling the town’s obesity problem, say health chiefs.

As part of an innovative project with the British Heart Foundation (BHF), health officials and nutritionists plan to work with all primary and secondary schools in town.

BHF is providing £100,000 worth of funding over the next three years which will help pay for games and books aimed at educating the children about leading healthier lives.

There will also be a clinical post, a project lead and a nutritionist working closely with children aged between seven and 14 at all schools.

The educational programme, which officially launches on October 4, will involve all children so nobody feels stigmatised and youngsters will also be encouraged to try out a range of sports.

Carole Johnson, head of health improvement at NHS Hartlepool, said: “We thought by putting staff in schools this would be the best way to reach children and because everyone is involved they wont feel stigmatised.

“It is about working with schools and supporting the staff and we are also hoping to train up the teachers to be sport leaders to make the three year project more sustainable.

“We are aiming to influence parents and the wider community and I am very enthusiastic about it.

“We just hope that it will make a real difference.”

The programme will also help promote the work of the BHF, which aims to tackle Hartlepool’s heart disease problems.

Last year, the town became the only BHF Heart Town in the North at a time when more than 100 people are still dying of heart disease in Hartlepool each year.