Firm bids to stop obesity

Keighley News: Evolve director Graham Morgan, left, with Yorkshire regional manager Paul Bilston Evolve director Graham Morgan, left, with Yorkshire regional manager Paul Bilston

A Keighley social-enterprise company is at the centre of a national effort to tackle inactivity and obesity among school hildren.

Evolve – based at Central Hall in Alice Street – has a team of health mentors working in primary schools across the country.

Pupils are getting involved in activities and learning about healthy eating as part of the programme, known as HE:RO – Health Engagement: Real Outcomes.

More mentors are currently being hired, and by this summer 100 will be operating nationwide.

They undergo 12 weeks of training and shadow an experienced worker before being assigned to their own school.

“Inactivity and obesity levels in children have been rising for 30 years – youngsters are getting bigger and bigger,” said Evolve director Graham Morgan.

“Treatment costs to the NHS are frightening.

“It is estimated that by 2050, ninety per cent of children will be obese or overweight. It’s a world epidemic.

“In the Bradford district, 30 per cent of schoolchildren are obese. HE:RO is switching more focus on prevention and helping youngsters to improve their lives.

“We work with head teachers on the bespoke delivery of the programme in schools.”

Mr Morgan, 61, who lives at Crossflatts, said he was delighted with the success of the scheme.

“The feedback has been extremely positive,” he said. “Not only are activity levels increasing but improvements are being seen in attendance, behaviour and attainment.

“The health mentors bring a different dimension to schools and can work with staff for varying lengths of time – over 20 per cent of them end up being hired by the school.

“The programme has created jobs for many people who have learned new skills and improved their own lives, as well as the lives of young people.”

Contact Mr Morgan on 07713 251406 or graham@evolvesi.com for further information.

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