Preventing childhood obesity

Funding to help families.

Projects that work with children and families to prevent childhood obesity and reduce health inequalities are benefitting from more than half a million pounds of investment.

Ten projects across Scotland will share £538,141. The funding is allocated to initiatives such as Little n Lively - run by NHS Lanarkshire – which provides families and young children in the area with practical skills and information on nutrition and cooking and increased opportunities for physical activity and expanding social networks.

This year a number of health boards, including NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland, are continuing or implementing the ‘HENRY - Healthy Families Right from the Start’ programme which helps parents and carers with children up to five years old to provide a healthier, happier start in life.

The internationally adopted, evidence-based package provides support with family emotional wellbeing and information about nutrition, physical activity and oral health.

The funding is part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensure all children have the best start in life and the projects support the ambition to halve childhood obesity in Scotland by 2030.

Speaking on World Obesity Day (Monday), Public Health Minister Jenni Minto said:

“Preventing the causes of ill health is an important part of our efforts to make the health service sustainable in the years to come. That includes addressing obesity, particularly as we know good nutrition and physical activity is crucial for children’s health and development.

“We want Scotland to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up, and these early years projects are crucial to our bold ambition of halving childhood obesity by 2030.

“These ambitious and effective projects will also help tackle inequalities by working with families and communities to encourage healthy eating and offering support for those experiencing food insecurity.”

Health Improvement Adviser for NHS Shetland, Fern Jamieson said:

“The continued early years funding from Scottish Government has enabled NHS Shetland and partners to continue delivery of the HENRY ‘Healthy Families Right from the Start’ programme to more families across Shetland.

“Healthy Families Right from the Start is an 8-week programme to support parents and carers with children between 0-5 years to provide a healthier, happier start in life. Parents and carers have the opportunity to join online or face-to-face groups, providing improved access across Shetland. We have had reports that the programme is very interesting, enjoyable and a good opportunity to share ideas with others which has helped in making healthy changes across the whole family.

“With over 20 groups across Shetland, we are engaging with communities to deliver our standalone HENRY workshops. Feedback has been very positive and parents and carers feel more confident at mealtimes, understanding behaviours and cooking cost effectively.”


Projects receiving funding in 2023/24 are:

NHS Ayrshire & Arran: JumpStart Tots - £76,828

NHS Dumfries & Galloway: A whole systems approach with a focus on Early Years - £11,400

NHS Grampian: Training and support for a group of multi-agency professionals across Aberdeenshire to deliver the HENRY approach - £15,000

NHS Grampian: Upskill relevant teaching staff to deliver the Grow Well Choices Early Years programme - £15,000

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde: ‘Thrive Under Five’ programme - £66,000

NHS Lanarkshire: ‘Little n Lively’ programme in partnership with Healthy Valleys - £141,492

NHS Lothian and NHS Fife:  Continued delivery of HENRY core training to early years workforce  - £115,700 (£96,400 for Lothian, £19,300 for Fife)

NHS Orkney: Training and support for practitioners to deliver the HENRY approach - £24,058

NHS Shetland: Training and support for practitioners to deliver the HENRY approach - £23,400

NHS Tayside: Refreshing the Eat Well Play Well programme - £49,263

The Scottish Government published the Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan in July 2018.


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