Go 4 Fun® is a free healthy lifestyle program supporting children to become fitter, healthier and happier. FOCUS finds out more about the program from Co-ordinator Hayley Johnson, and former participants, Joanne Wilkins and her son, Jake Simpson.
What is Go 4 Fun all about?
Hayley: The program is fun and interactive and supports 7-13 year old children and their families to adopt a long lasting and healthy approach to living. The program has been specifically designed for children who are above a healthy weight, and their parents.
The program runs for 10 weeks, meeting twice a week for two hours, and it generally runs with the school term. It includes weekly games and activities for children; fun, interactive discussions to teach you easy and effective ways to improve children’s nutrition, physical activity and self-esteem; practical demonstrations, games and tips about healthy foods, label reading and portion sizes and the chance to try delicious and healthy new foods!
Joanne, you and your son Jake have been through the program. What was it like?
From the minute that I went there, I felt really supported. It was fun for Jake, and I learnt a lot along the way as well. When I first went there, I thought I knew a lot about healthy eating. But I learnt things too, which was great. The program targets families and the parents come along, so we’re all in it together – which makes it much easier.
Joanne, tell me a bit about the modules…
There were all different modules about ways to approach the subject of healthy eating with your child, ways to support them, goal setting and rewards within your capabilities. There was a recipe section which covered good and bad foods, a supermarket tour, and each time we’d go to the program the kids would stay inside and learn for a while, then they’d go outside to play – and always come back in with red faces!
Joanne, how hard has it been to implement the changes in to your daily life?
It wasn’t so hard for me, because I eat healthy anyway, but having that outside influence teaching Jake about it was really good – because he really listened to it. Now he will tell you whether or not something is good to eat. Jake has his occasional treat still, but that’s the good thing about the program – they don’t have to miss out on their treats. So they can have some hot chips once a week if they want to, or soft drink or something like that. They don’t have to miss out on everything – just being aware of moderation.
Joanne, what was the biggest benefit of the program for you personally?
I think it was Jake learning from other people in a fun way. I could sit here and tell him things until the cows come home, and I don’t think he’d pay that much attention. But hearing it from other people with other children there made it OK for him.
Joanne, have you seen a difference in Jake since completing Go 4 Fun?
Definitely; he’s sleeping better now. He was waking up during the night, and I think it was because of too much carbohydrate before he went to bed, e.g. potato and bread. Now he doesn’t wake up and he just goes straight to sleep, because I’ve cut the carbs back and given him more protein. And just generally, he’s more healthy. I can’t speak highly enough of the program.
Hayley, how is the program funded?
Go4Fun is funded by NSW Ministry of Health and is being organised and delivered by Coffs Harbour Women’s Health Centre. There’s no cost at all to participants.