Overweight teenagers to be offered sessions with trainer

OVERWEIGHT teenagers are to be offered one-to-one sessions with a personal trainer as part of a new scheme to tackle childhood obesity in the East Riding.

Youngsters aged 11 to 18 who are chosen to take part in a pilot being rolled out this autumn will have up to 26 weeks with the trainer.

The scheme is modelled on the successful Live Well programme which the council has run for the past three years, and which is a requirement for anyone seeking weight loss surgery.

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Of the adults who have been through the programme, half 
had lost five per cent of their weight and the vast majority – 98 per cent – reported satisfaction with it.

Primary school children, meanwhile, will be offered group sessions.

Sport, play and arts service manager Lou Adams could not say yet how many youngsters would be able to access the programme, which will be offered through leisure centres.

She said: “We would love to do as many as we can, but it is time-intensive.

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“For that one person there will be up to 16 individualised 
sessions followed by group sessions, if appropriate, over 26 weeks.

“(At their age) they are very conscious of body image and if they are working one to one that’s much more palatable.”

Deputy director of public health Andy Kingdom added: “We work out where people are at and set realistic goals – the key is to personalise it.

“The point of it going for 26 weeks is to embed behavioural change in people and families.”

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Statistics suggest that there are more overweight four to five-year-olds and 10 to 11-year-olds in the East Riding than the national average - 14.8 per cent compared to 13.1 per cent for the younger children - but fewer obese children than the national average.

Just over a quarter of adults are obese - 25.9 per cent - compared with 24.2 per cent in England as a whole. It is estimated that obesity reduces life expectancy between three and 13 years.

Other programmes tackling obesity being funded from the public health budget include health trainers – who advise on everything from giving up smoking to weight – and exercise referral for adults.