Rob de Castella and the Minister for Education and Training Dr Chris Bourke celebrated with Weetangera Primary School and their 22 HEELP participants who have smashed records in reversing children’s weight problems and poor fitness.
“This is an amazing result and demonstrates that the ACT can lead the nation in addressing the child obesity and poor fitness epidemic” Mr de Castella said “It’s a credit to all involved and is an example of a great partnership between the Government, schools, teachers, parents and SmartStart. We hear all the time about how kids are getting more un fit and overweight. Results at Weetangera Primary School demonstrate that with a combined effort of school, families and the SmartStart HEELP program not only can this increasing trend be stopped in its tracks it can be reversed. We’ve seen improvement in reduced body fat or improvements in cardio functional fitness or both.”
“We’re continuing to work closely with Canberra University, ACT Government and the Education Department to find ways to further develop and deliver SmartStart for Kids program to more schools and communities across the ACT.”
In 2010 and 2011 students in Years K, 2 & 4 at Weetangera Primary school had their health and fitness screened as part of the ACT Government funded SmartStart for Kids HEELP program.
A group were identified as being in “need of special assistance” and 22 children participated in the intensive 7 week after school program. The Healthy Eating, Exercise and Living Program (HEELP) was designed by SmartStart, teachers and health experts and incorporates intense, fun, physical activity and healthy eating at school and in the home.
Every child improved in at least one area with 20 of the 22 improving their body composition, 19 increasing their cardio fitness and 17 improving their power and functional coordination.
SmartStart were delighted when the Minister for Education recognised these achievements and attended the event to present the group with certificates ‘’The SmartStart for Kids! program is a great program,’’ said Dr Bourke ‘’it’s about giving students the best chance in life, health and education. I’m impressed that these kids at Weetangera Primary School have come out with the best results in the ACT. I’m very proud of them and the hard work they have done, the parents and teachers for supporting them and of the course the hardworking SmartStart staff’’
The school was also delighted with the improvements made with the Prinicpal, Phil Gray adding ‘’I am most impressed with the SmartStart Program because it fits in with our health and nutrition program at the school. We place a great deal of emphasis on the wellbeing of our children, particularly their fitness levels and skill levels and their general health so to have another organisation like SmartStart come in and support and target children who might be at risk in any of the categories such as coordination and fitness levels is a really big support.’’