County chosen to lead for NHS

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NHS DERBYSHIRE County has been chosen to lead a £10,000 government pilot motivating High Peak school children and families to get active and eat more healthily.

The drive will see initiatives including personalised text messages sent to primary-aged schoolchildren through schools’ text messaging services, a ‘pedometer challenge’ where families can compete to see how many steps they can take, and a free family leisure pass for each family taking part.

The High Peak Schools taking part are Fairfield Endowed CE Junior, New Mills Primary and Chapel-en-le-Frith Primary.

NHS Derbyshire County is the only primary care trust in the East Midlands chosen to trial the innovative programme, which is being run as part of the national Change4Life community fund scheme.

Jane Hicken, programme lead for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “This is a unique opportunity for us to use innovative new ways to encourage families to take those all-important steps towards improving physical activity levels and a healthier diet.

“Too much body fat leads to cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease so we need to do all we can to change people’s behaviour for the better.

“All the goals and advice we’re giving people is straightforward and achievable, and by drawing the whole family in we want to motivate hundreds of people in Derbyshire towards a better life. We are planning a range of exciting events for all the family.”

Each text message will offer health tips, nutritional advice and notice of local leisure activities.

They will be distributed once a month for a six-month period from February, and contain potential life-changing calls for action – by inviting schoolchildren and their families to join a free fun health walk or take part in a local cook and eat session, for example.