Hornsby Hospital pilot set to improve child health

Hornsby Hospital pilot set to improve child health

08 April 2014

The pilot program, Hornsby Healthy Kids, launches this month and uses a multidisciplinary approach to help families and their children aged three to 12 years achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

The pilot is in direct response to the alarming statistics that 25 per cent of NSW school aged children and 20 per cent of preschool children are either overweight or obese.

Hornsby Hospitals Paediatric Department and General Practice Unit have joined forces with Northern Sydney Medicare Local, which will fund a dietician, psychologist and social worker to participate in the service.

The hospital will provide the paediatricians, GP and specialist nurse. A suitably qualified volunteer will fill the role of exercise therapist.

Hornsby Hospitals Clinical Head of Paediatrics Dr Anna Gill said 14 children had already been enrolled in Hornsby Healthy Kids.

Currently the Go4Fun initiative supports children aged seven to 13 in a community-based 10 week program.

We want to be able to intervene earlier with those aged three to seven years, as well as offer further support to those in the older age group who have already been through the Go4Fun program, but need ongoing help, Dr Gill said.

She said the program is multidisciplinary to consider the lifestyle of the child and their family.

No one should be afraid to seek help, Dr Gill said.

If you are worried about your childs weight your own family doctor can advise you on initial lifestyle measures and refer you to Hornsby Healthy Kids if needed.

The earlier we begin intervention the better chance we have of making changes that are sustainable and reduce the many health related risks of obesity in adulthood, she said.

Children and their carers will have a minimum six face to face sessions with access to all of the multidisciplinary team, who will develop healthy eating and exercise programs to suit the individual and the family.

Phone support is provided between these sessions.

After six months the childs progress is measured against the initial consultation results to determine the way forward for a lifelong healthy lifestyle.

Northern Sydney Medicare Local Chief Executive Officer Ramon del Carmen said he was pleased to support the local community through this type of service.

As a local healthcare organisation committed to improving the health of our community, we are very pleased to be involved in the Hornsby Healthy Kids pilot program.

Kids are our future, so its vital that we support them and their families with knowledge and access to resources that aims to improve their wellbeing. Mr del Carmen said.

For families wanting more information call the Hornsby Hospital General Practice Unit on 9485 6200.

Super Seven Health Tips:
1. Choose water as your main drink.
2. Eat breakfast each day.
3. Eat together once a day as a family without the TV being on.
4. Spend at least 60 minutes outside every day (playing or being physically active).
5. Limit screen time to less than 2 hours per day (TV, electronic games, DVDs, computer, Ipod, MP3, videos).
6. Get enough sleep (10-12 hours).
7. Weigh yourself once a week (if overweight and seeking treatment).