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Combatting childhood obesity from the age of two

Press release issued: 11 August 2014

A successful American initiative to tackle childhood obesity will be trialled in the UK, thanks to a new £431,495 research project targeting children as young as two.

The University of Bristol has been funded by the National Institute of Health and Research (NIHR) to undertake the study, which aims to increase physical activity and healthy eating among children aged between two and four-years-old.

The Nutrition and Physical Activity Self Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC) programme was initially developed in America and has been successfully adopted across the US. The UK version will involve parents and carers, encouraging a healthy start for children in the community.

Prof Dianne Ward, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who led the NAP SACC project in the US, will be sharing her experiences and expertise to explore whether the same success can be replicated in the UK.

The NAP SACC UK study starts in September in North Somerset and Cardiff, in collaboration with North Somerset Council, Public Health Wales, North Somerset Community Partnership and the Universities of Cardiff and Glasgow.

Dr Ruth Kipping, a Research Fellow in Epidemiology and Public Health in the School of Social and Community Medicine at the University of Bristol and Consultant in Public Health at North Somerset Council, is leading the UK study.

She said: "We are very pleased to be working with colleagues in North Somerset and Cardiff to test whether we can adapt the NAP SACC intervention for use in the UK. This is an important study because few research studies have worked with pre-school providers to prevent obesity by increasing physical activity and improving nutrition."

Becky Pollard, North Somerset Council's Director of Public Health, said: "We are delighted to be taking part in this research study. We know that forming healthy habits from an early age is important to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases.

"We have high levels of excess weight in four to five-year-old children in North Somerset, so it is important that we prevent children gaining excess weight at a young age."

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