Maternal and children’s healthy weight
It is really important our children get off to a healthy start as good health in the early years helps to safeguard health and well-being throughout life. When children are young it is the ideal time to develop healthy habits of eating well and moving more. Start them off on a ‘healthy’ path and as they get older it will become second nature.
Breastfeeding & Weaning
The Department of Health recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life as this is the healthiest way to feed your baby. At around six months your baby needs more than milk alone and is able to eat solid foods in addition to breast or formula milk. This is often referred to as weaning. Weaning is the gradual introduction of a wide range of foods, until baby is eating the same healthy foods as the family.
Once your child has moved onto solid foods it is important to give them healthy foods and the correct portion size for their age. For more information view the documents at the bottom of this section.
Government guidelines suggest that children should be encouraged to be physically active from birth. Children under 5 who aren’t yet capable of walking should be active through floor-based play such as tummy time and water based activities such as parent and baby swim sessions. This encourages infants to use their muscles and develop motor skills. Children who are capable of walking unaided should be physically active for at least 180 minutes (3 hours) every day, though this can be spread throughout the day. For activities in your area contact your local Children’s Centre/Family Hub.
Off to the best start – Breastfeeding information (PDF)
Introducing solid foods – Weaning information (PDF)
Healthy Weaning Guide – Weaning tips recipe ideas (PDF)
Building Blocks For A Better Start In Life – Tips to give your child a healthier start in life (PDF)
My Me Sized Plate – portion size guide for early years (PDF)
Healthy Snacks and Drinks Leaflet – Snack ideas and portion size guide (PDF)
Good health in the school years helps to maintain good health and well-being throughout life. It is important that children develop healthy habits about food and activity. Growing with appropriate weight gain helps to avoid obesity in later life.
It is important that children eat a healthy diet to ensure they get the nutrition they need to help them grow into healthy adults. Children who are a healthy weight are more self-confident, have a better ability to learn and are much less likely to have health problems later in life.
Breakfast is often called “the most important meal of the day”. Eating breakfast gives us the energy we need until lunchtime, can help improve concentration at school, generally gets the day off to a good start and is something which 1 in 7 children in England and Ireland regularly go without.
For breakfast ideas visit the Change4Life website.
Children often eat the same sized portions as grown ups but when they eat more than their bodies need, it converts to stored fat in their bodies, so give portions that match your child’s age. Try making a fist. Look at the size of your child’s fist compared to yours. Not only are their fists, hands and feet smaller than yours, their stomach is too. So when you are serving up remember to give your kids smaller amounts of food than adults and it will still fill them up.
The EatWell Plate (PDF) shows the different types of food we need to eat and in what proportions to have a well balanced and healthy diet. Eating healthily is about eating the right amount of food for your energy needs.
Fruit and vegetables are part of a balanced diet and can help us stay healthy. That’s why it so important that we get enough of them. That is five portions of fruit and veg altogether, not five portions of each.
Getting your 5 a day is easy. There are plenty of ways to add more fruit and vegetables to your everyday eating habits. Here are some ideas to get you started:
• At breakfast, add fruit to cereal, porridge or lower-fat yoghurt.
• Frozen fruit and veg count towards your 5 A DAY
• Canned fruit and veg count too BUT choose fruit canned in juice rather than sugary syrup, and veg canned in water without added salt or sugar.
Free School Meals
From September 2014 all pupils in reception, Year 1 and Year 2 should be offered a free school meal. Existing entitlements for free school meals still apply.
North East Lincolnshire Council in partnership with Cygnet catering provides school meals.
The Healthy Hot School Meals Menu meets the national nutritional standards. These ensure that children are provided with a healthy, balanced diet.
Physical activity helps children maintain a healthy weight. It also helps to develop strong bones and muscles. The most recent UK Physical Activity Guidance for children demonstrates children aged 5 – 18 years old should be active for 60 minutes every day.
If you’re looking for something extra-curricular then why not try the junior gym? For opening times see the Junior Gym flyer (PDF). See what other activities are available at your local leisure centre by visiting the Lincs Inspire website.
If you want activities the whole family can take part in together then Change4Life has some great games and ideas.
For more information on any of our initiatives use the contact details below.
A healthy lifestyle is important throughout life, but even more so when you are pregnant. Obesity during pregnancy can put you and your baby at risk of complications such as Pre-eclampsia and Gestational Diabetes.
You don’t need to go on a special diet when you are pregnant, but make sure that you choose healthy foods over fatty, sugary ones. There are also certain foods such as liver and certain types of cheese that you should avoid whilst pregnant. For more information on these see the Healthy Diet In Pregnancy (PDF). You will probably find that you are more hungry than normal, but you don’t need to eat for two. Even if you are expecting twins or triplets! The only time you will need extra energy is in your third trimester and even then only 200-300 calories more.
One small step which is easily achievable is to make sure you have breakfast every day as this will help you to avoid snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar. Eating first thing in the morning may help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and energy.
It is important that your diet is balanced, try using the EatWell Plate (PDF) as a guide for how much you should be eating of each food group.
You should try to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day but many people find this difficult to fit in. If you need ideas on how to get more fruit and veg throughout the day visit the Change4Life website.
Some people are eligible for Healthy Start vouchers which entitle you to free fruit, veg, milk, and vitamins. If you’re not eligible for the vouchers you can still buy Healthy Start vitamins from family hubs at a lower price than the high street.
Being active during pregnancy means you’re likely to maintain a healthier weight and be able to cope better with the physical demands of pregnancy and labour. It also reduces the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects and diabetes. It could be something as simple as going for a walk. 150 minutes of walking each week has lots of benefits and you don’t even have to do the 150 minutes all in one go! For tips on building a bit of activity into your every day routine visit the Start4Life website.
Are you trying for a baby? Did you know that your weight can affect your chances of falling pregnant? The best way to protect your health and your baby’s wellbeing is to lose weight before you become pregnant. By reaching a healthy weight, you increase your chances of conceiving naturally and reduce your risk of the problems associated with being overweight in pregnancy.
Use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your weight before you are pregnant. Reaching a healthy weight will increase your chances of conceiving naturally and reduce your risk of the problems associated with being overweight or underweight in pregnancy.
Use the FREE Choices weight loss programme to manage your weight when you’re trying for a baby.
Maternal And Early Years Healthy Lifestyle Service
It can be daunting and confusing to know what is best to give you and your baby the best start in life. The Maternal and Early Years Healthy Lifestyle Service will support expectant mums who have a higher than healthy BMI with advice and support to eating well and keeping active during pregnancy. There can be many increased risks to you and your baby if your BMI is 30 or above but do not worry as your friendly and supportive ‘Maternal and Early Years Healthy Lifestyle Advisor’ will be there to help and support you to change your lifestyle in small, easy, achievable steps. Our programme consists of between 5 and 9 contacts. The first session will take place when you are around 12-16 weeks pregnant and then there will be contacts at intervals up to a year after your baby is born.
Areas the programme will cover include:
- Risks associated with a higher than healthy BMI
- Getting the right vitamins and minerals through food and supplements
- What is the right portion sizes
- How to eat healthily on a budget
- What everyday exercises you can perform whilst you are pregnant
If you have a BMI of 30 or above when you first visit your midwife she will refer you to the service, however if you think you may not have been referred and would like support please get in touch using the contact information at the bottom.
Children are getting heavier and that is bad news for their health, especially as they get older. Evidence shows that overweight children are likely to become overweight adults, with worsening health problems as they get older. In adults, being overweight is linked to type 2 diabetes, and increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. But health is not the only issue. Overweight children could also be affected by:
- Teasing or bullying
- Low self-esteem
- Embarrassment when playing games or sports
- Difficulty in being active (for example, getting breathless quickly)
- Difficulties sleeping
Even if your child is not overweight or obese, it is important that they eat healthily and are physically active. One of the best ways to teach your children to EAT WELL and MOVE MORE is to do so yourself and as a family.
Weighing and measuring children
Every year as part of the National Child Measurement Programme children in Reception and Year 6 are weighed and measured at school by the School Nursing Service. This information is used by the local authority and Public Health England to plan and provide better health services for children.
Each parent is notified of the programme commencing and receives a letter outlining their child’s height and weight. You can find out what this means by entering the values in the NHS Choices Healthy Weight Calculator.
If you have concerns about your child’s weight please contact your family GP.
Top tips for top kids (PDF)