A CHILDHOOD obesity prevention charity has won a top national health award and £30,000 prize.
Oxford-based Henry (Health, Exercise, Nutrition for the Really Young) has beaten off competition from more than 400 groups to be named one of only 10 winners of a GSK Impact award.
The awards are given by pharmaceuticals company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in association with the King’s Fund independent health charity.
An overall winner will be awarded an additional £10,000 at an award ceremony at the Science Museum in London on May 15.
Henry has worked with thousands of families and healthcare professionals across the UK to tackle childhood obesity since 2006 by giving parents information on how to achieve a healthy family lifestyle.
They offer guidance on age-appropriate portion sizes, healthy eating for the family and ideas for active play.
Barton mum-of-two Lisa Wiggins joined a Henry eight-week programme last year and said: “The Henry course was brilliant, so much more than I thought it would be. My whole family is now much happier and healthier.
“We even saved money buying healthier food.
“It really inspired me to give my kids healthy food and to try new ones. They eat beetroot and sweet potato now.
“It also got them and me more active. I’ve lost about two stone and have dropped two dress sizes.”
Children aged four or five in reception year and 10- to 11-year-olds in year six have been weighed at school since 2006.
In Oxfordshire, the number of overweight reception class children fell from 12.2 per cent in 2006/07 to 11.9 per cent in 2012/13.
The number of obese reception children was 9.3 per cent, down from 9.5 per cent in 2011/12 and 9.9 per cent in 2006/07.
Obesity is recognised as more serious than being overweight.
Overweight year six children increased from 13 per cent in 2006/07 to 13.4 per cent in 2012/13.
Figures for obese year six pupils was down from 15.3 per cent in 2006/07 to 15.1 per cent in 2012/13.
Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said: “We have a problem with obesity in this country and I am worried about the costs to the NHS and that some children may have shorter lives than their parents.
“As a father trying to bring up three children without excessive amounts of junk food and sugar, I know exactly how big this challenge is.
“I was very pleased to hear that Henry has been awarded a GSK Impact Award.
“I congratulate the staff and volunteers who are doing such vital work.”
Kim Roberts, chief executive of Henry, said: “Henry is all about giving babies and young children the best possible start in life.
“We know from parents what difference skilled help can make to children.”