They are encouraging families to make healthy choices.
Mind, Exercise, Nutrition and Do it! (MEND) a new healthy living program that originated in the United Kingdom is coming to Prince Albert this fall.
“It is a new program that came to Saskatchewan in 2012,” MEND leader Janet Daigneault said. “The University of Saskatchewan has a contract with it and they are responsible for the roll out.”
The U of S started the program in Saskatoon last year and has seen some success with it, which is why they are expanding to Prince Albert.
The free program focuses on children seven to 13 years old, who are above a healthy weight, Daigneault said.
“It empowers families and children to become fitter and healthier,” Daigneault said. “To (help them) adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
During the two-hour sessions twice a week, families will learn how to chose healthier food and spend more time being physically active.
“I think it is a program that inspires or help families, not just children,” Daigneault said. “It will empower families to live a fitter and healthier life. It is for them to be educated, for us to possibly role model some ideas and educate families about nutrition and health at the same time incorporating exercise.”
Not only will MEND teach families about healthy living, it also has a psychological aspect.
“The mind aspect of MEND is also psychological, so the reasons why maybe we overeat for instance,” Daigneault said. “There is also things about eating sugars unrefined and refined, breads and a lot of the things involved with nutrition.”
There is a lot of useful education for the families, Daigneault said.
“I think it will be effective because it targets the whole family as opposed to just the child,” Daigneault said. “It is very interactive and in a family setting.”
In the first hour of the program, a theory leader will work with the families, encouraging them to interact with each other.
“We will be asking a lot of questions and give the chance to the families to share their experiences too with food and nutrition and possibly give ideas to other families on how they deal with certain situations,” Daigneault said.
The last portion of MEND is an exercise component.
“There is an exercise facilitator that takes the kids into the gym and does a lot of co-operative games with them,” Daigneault said. “It is basically just being active while having a lot of fun in the gym.”
Daigneault believes this approach to healthy living is one most families will appreciate.
“I think families are looking for positive ways to incorporate or maybe adopt a healthy lifestyle,” Daigneault said. “In this day and age, families are so busy and the mother and father are both working, we sometimes forget or don’t think about better ways to incorporate healthier meals into our lifestyle and getting exercise as a family.”
The program will not only teach families about how to have a healthy lifestyle, it will also be a bonding experience.
“I think it will be a lot of fun and it is a family event,” Daigneault said. “We are trying to promote families as a whole to come out and join the program.”
Daigneault will be taking registrations during September. There will be two evening sessions -- one at W. J. Berezowsky School on Mondays and Wednesdays starting on Sept. 30 and the other at St. Michael’s Community School on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting on Oct. 1.
“We also sent out fliers to the school divisions already and they have circulated them,” Daigneault said. “I am working with community partners to get the word out so we can get more families involved.”
Anyone interested in joining the program can contact Daigneault at 306-960-4568 or firstname.lastname@example.org.