GREAT RESULTS: Mel Wijeyekoon and children Teal and Zeplin are armed with useful advice after taking part in the Go4Fun program. The health centre’s Sandra Handley, and regional program manager Franklin John-Leader are in the background.
GREAT RESULTS: Mel Wijeyekoon and children Teal and Zeplin are armed with useful advice after taking part in the Go4Fun program. The health centre’s Sandra Handley, and regional program manager Franklin John-Leader are in the background. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Fitness a family affair

FITNESS truly can be a fun family affair, believes one local family after completing the Go4Fun program.

The free Go4Fun program is designed for children between seven and 13 who are above their healthy body weight. The aim of the program is to help them become fitter, healthier and happier, while their parents get involved too.

Northern NSW Local Health District health promotion manager Jillian Adams said the program had achieved outstanding results so far.

"Kids come along to play fun games with play leaders and parents come along to learn about ways to make it easier to feed their children healthy food and provide alternatives to screen time," Ms Adams said.

"It is a really supportive program where parents share successes and help each other with the challenges of parenting. The leaders have a wealth of tips and tricks to make feeding kids simpler and healthier."

Regional Program Manager for Northern NSW Health District, Franklin John-Leader, made clear that Go4Fun was not a diet. Rather it was about empowerment and encouraging parents and children to be in charge of their health.

The program adopts the MEND approach: Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!

One family who has been seeing results is Goonellabah's Mel Wijeyekoon and her two children, Zeplin, 8, and Teal, 5.

They began the program in term four last year through the Lismore Women's Health Centre and Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre and couldn't be happier.

As Zeplin put it: "It's awesome - it's just changed my life."

Ms Wijeyekoon said that one of the best parts about the program was the support between the groups of parents and children.

"(The kids) met some new friends, and I met some other parents. We were all able to learn off one another," she said.

"We found the program effective because it focused on the successes of the child, not the failures."



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