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‘Families for Health’ offers free support for overweight children in the local area

Researchers at Warwick Medical School are seeking to lend a helping hand to families with overweight children in the region by trialling a new ‘Families for Health’ programme.

Recent statistics show that 16.9% of children aged 10-11 in Warwickshire are very overweight, a figure that increases to 20.6% in Coventry and 24.8% in Wolverhampton. Overweight children are at increased risk of physical illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease and are at increased risk of psychological problems such as low self-esteem and depression.

The ‘Families for Health’ scheme for six to eleven year old children aims to promote a healthier lifestyle through weekly group sessions with both the child and the parent or carer. These will explore ideas for supporting family relationships, healthy eating and staying active.

The key to the success of the study lies in having volunteers from the local community, so families with an overweight child aged between six and eleven years old are invited to take part in this research.

Research leader Dr Wendy Robertson, from Warwick Medical School, explains, “We need to find out if the ‘Families for Health’ programme can help families with their children’s weight. If shown to be effective we want such programmes to be available to families across the UK.”

A previous pilot study showed the programme to be helpful to families, but in order to assess how effective it is, ‘Families for Health’ is now being compared with other support services available in the region. Families will be allocated, by chance, to receive either the ‘Families for Health’ programme or the usual care service. Whichever group families are allocated to, all families will receive free, local support.

Specially trained facilitators will run the programme on Saturday mornings for a period of ten weeks at local venues in Warwickshire, Coventry and Wolverhampton.

Families who are interested in taking part should contact Jo Kirby or Atiya Kamal at Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL on 024 7615 1853, or email:

Notes to Editors

For more information for please contact:

Dr Wendy Robertson, Associate Professor, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL Tel: 024 7657 4660, email:

Luke Harrison, Communications Manager, Communications Office, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 8UW Tel: 02476 150483, email:

The research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme for Warwick Medical School in conjunction with Wolverhampton PCT, NHS Coventry and NHS Warwickshire to test this programme.

The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme funds research about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest NIHR programme and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 600 issues published to date. The journal’s 2010 Impact Factor (4.197) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download free of charge from the website,

The National Institute for Health Research provides the framework through which the research staff and research infrastructure of the NHS in England is positioned, maintained and managed as a national research facility. The NIHR provides the NHS with the support and infrastructure it needs to conduct first-class research funded by the Government and its partners alongside high-quality patient care, education and training. Its aim is to support outstanding individuals (both leaders and collaborators), working in world class facilities (both NHS and university), conducting leading edge research focused on the needs of patients.