MEND promotes healthy lifestyle for Ponokans

Ponoka Neighborhood Place Association will offer two MEND fitness and lifestyle programs to central Alberta residents starting

Participants of the MEND program enjoy physical activities. This program starts Sept. 24 and will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the United Church.

Ponoka Neighborhood Place Association will offer two MEND fitness and lifestyle programs to central Alberta residents starting in September.

Ponoka was the first rural community in Canada to offer a pilot program on these worldwide healthy lifestyles programs that have achieved unparalleled success in England, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. More than 55,000 families around the world have participated in these programs with more than 90 per cent of the families involved showing sustainable change to a healthier lifestyle.

The programs are free to all participants; a parent/caregiver must attend each session.

MEND 2 – 4 is a healthy lifestyle, family obesity prevention and treatment program aimed at families with young children aged two to four years. MEND 2-4 was developed as a result of strong and increasingly frequent expressions of interest for an effective initiative from healthcare and childcare practitioners. MEND 2-4 uses parenting skills and behaviour change techniques to help young children and their families adopt healthy eating habits and become more active.

MEND 2 – 4 uses play-based learning plus behavioural and parenting skills training (Mind) to help families become physically active (Exercise) and make informed food choices (Nutrition). It’s all based within a practical, fun and supportive philosophy of inspiring and motivating change (Do it!).

This integrated approach provides families with a foundation for feeling fitter, healthier and happier – for the rest of their lives.

Sessions comprise:

• Active play component to get children and parents or caregivers engaging in and becoming accustomed to being active and playing together

• Snack-time component to encourage children’s interest in and motivation for trying new fruit and vegetables

• Creative play component (for children only)

• Parent and caregiver workshops covering nutrition and mind/behaviour change.

MEND 2 – 4 will start Sunday, Sept. 30 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Neighborhood Place, 5110 49 Ave. and run for 10 weeks with graduation ceremonies on Dec. 2.

MEND 7 – 13 is a comprehensive, family-based educational Program that has been specifically designed to prevent and treat overweight and obesity in children and their families by improving health, fitness and self-esteem. MEND 7-13 is a healthy lifestyle Program that combines the three essential elements necessary for safe, effective weight management and a sustained lifestyle change:

• exercise and physical activity

• good nutrition and a balanced diet

• behaviour change

Families who attend MEND 7 – 13 are taught skills in these areas and given access to scientifically evaluated information. This integrated approach provides families with a foundation for feeling fitter, healthier and happier — for the rest of their lives.

MEND stands for:

Mind: Eight sessions designed to improve self-esteem and address behaviour change. These sessions will help families overcome difficulties in changing children’s habits or behaviours around eating and exercise by utilising tools such as goal and reward-setting, modelling and triggers.

Exercise: Eighteen sessions of fun activities and group play help build up strength and fitness. These activities are graded, structured and non-competitive so that everyone can join in and benefit.

Nutrition: Eight sessions of stimulating group-based activities and lessons including family friendly nutrition guidelines, practical skills and demonstrations. Families are taught practical tips on shopping, cooking, label reading, fats and sugars and how to survive eating out and other tempting occasions.

Do it! The fundamental ethos behind the Program is about learning how to make changes and putting them into action. ‘Do it’ stands for having a go and getting involved in the Mind, Nutrition and Exercise activities.

This program starts Sept. 24 and will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the United Church, 5020 52 Ave. with graduation ceremonies on Nov. 28.

The facilitator team for the MEND 2 – 4 program is Kimberly Saunders as the workshop leader and Michelle Comeau as creative play/active play leader. The MEND 7 – 13 program has

Lisa Hollingsworth as theory leader and Pam Stephenson as exercise leader. They are all looking forward to meeting and working with you so register soon.

Registrations for both programs are now being accepted on a first-come first-served basis. Call Neighborhood Place at 403-704-1146 and watch for the booth at the information/registration night Sept. 5.

—Submitted

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