Being healthy, doing well (now called FIT!)
The programme was developed by the Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) and Somerset Coast Primary Care Trust and has been running very successfully since 2004.
The aim of DASH (Do Activity Stay Healthy) is for "the school and family to work together through physical activity and health education to provide a good platform for those children with weight issues or potential issues in the primary school system to manage their weight". The key strength of DASH is that it is a family-centred scheme. If the family does not become engaged then the sessions will be of little benefit. Family involvement helps children maintain lifestyle changes.
DASH delivers three early morning activity sessions (7am until 8am) and one health education session of 15 minutes each week, over a period of 6 weeks.
There are also home visits by the DASH activators to secure 'buy in' from parents. This is considered essential if health benefits and good practice are to be sustainable. A focus is also placed on encouraging participation by friendship groups.
The focus on multi-skills coaching has helped children who currently lack the skills to enjoy sport to learn and master core skills with a view to making exercise a more positive experience.
The programme is monitored by a shuttle test every six weeks and regular questionnaires. That said, DASH veers away from the ‘Fat Club’ angle.
Results from Somerset have been impressive. Children have lost significant weight whilst attending, but even more pleasing is the fact that the whole family has been involved so that lifestyle changes are being maintained. Children’s self esteem has improved markedly and their fitness levels continue to rise.
Cornwall DASH pilot
We are currently working on our own version of DASH which we're calling Family Fun Fit. If you would like your child's school to take part please contact us putting Family Fun Fit as the subject of your message, or telephone us on 01209 310061.
Did you know?
Research from the universities of Newcastle and Glasgow found that parents estimated their children's physical activity at a whopping 146 minutes per day. Unfortunately the children were actually getting less than 30 minutes on average, which is less than half the recommended amount! Read more.
To see how this kind of work with families is being developed go to our FIT Cornwall website.