Exploring family health
Exploring family health

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Exploring family health

Change4Life

Obesity is such a great concern because it is linked to serious and life-limiting conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer and disability (NHS Information Centre, 2012). With obesity in mind, you will now consider how a government-led initiative might influence families to change their diet and exercise.

Considering the importance of the family in influencing children’s eating habits, the government’s 2005 Action Plan included a number of key interventions to promote healthier eating habits within families. These included campaigns to support health education using advice and guidance (such as the 5 A DAY campaign you have already explored). The next activity will involve you finding information about a current health campaign aimed at families.

Activity 4: Browsing the Change4Life website

Allow about 40 minutes
  • a.Browse the Change4Life [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] website by clicking on the link to find some tips (aim for five) for enabling families to adopt healthy eating habits and increase the amount of exercise they take. Make a brief note of your chosen tips on paper so you can refer to them later in this activity.
  • b.Open the page on the site that provides resources for local NHS organisations.
    • i.In the box where it says ‘only show results for: (select audience)’ use the drop-down list to select ‘families’. Click the ‘Filter’ button.
    • ii.Choose just one of the titles now showing in the table, and click to open it.
    • iii.Can you think of one reason why this resource could be helpful in the campaign for healthier families and one reason why it might not be successful?

Click on the discussion to view the thoughts of the course team, who produced this course.

Discussion

  • a.You probably found your way to the section of the site labelled ‘eat well’, which offers advice such as how to cut back on fat, sugar and salt; and the section labelled ‘get going’, which provides ideas for taking exercise – for example, walking or cycling instead of travelling by car or public transport. Other sections of the site are aimed at making it easier to change by encouraging families to get involved in local activities.
  • b.There is a wide range of resources you could have chosen from. They seem to be aimed at putting information over in a fun way, and at encouraging children and their parents to interact with the content of the messages. The graphics on the site are very gender-neutral and we wondered whether that was intended to avoid any visual messages about gender roles. The success of these resources would depend partly on families engaging with the messages sufficiently to change their lifestyles.

The next section moves on to consider how the family is affected by illness.

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