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Issue:- 23 May 2013

Parents in the north of England are driving their children to poor health

PARENTS who walked to school themselves could be driving their children towards chronic ill health in the future which could cost the UK billions, says the Must Try Harder report published by Living Streets to launch Walk to School Week which the charity runs.

Research by YouGov found that although 84% of parents of children aged 5 to 11 in the north of England walked to school themselves, there has been a steady decline over generations. Despite almost a third of children in the UK being overweight or obese, 26% of parents in the region say they automatically drive their child to school rather than walking them there and 20% said they had never even considered making sure their child walks to school.

Elevated body mass index (BMI) is predicted to cost the UK £27 billion by 2015, through a higher incidence of chronic conditions such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. The walk to school is an easy way to build some exercise into a child's day and should be a key element of government strategy to encourage us all to be more physically active, says Living Streets.

Living Streets' Chief Executive, Tony Armstrong, said:- "The overwhelming majority of our grans and granddads walked to school, but over generations we are seeing a steady decline to the point where it seems some parents wouldn't even think about ensuring their children walk to school. Meanwhile obesity rates have more than doubled, even since I walked to school just 20 odd years ago. We hear a lot from the coalition government about investment to encourage participation in sport, but it overlooks this very simple and cost effective intervention. Encouraging the children of today to walk to school not only keeps them healthy now but makes for healthier adults in the future. We know that time-pressed parents often see jumping into the car as the easiest way to get children to school on time, but we do so at the risk of storing up health problems for them in the future. Where government has supported schools and parents with the walk to school we've seen walking rates increase by up to 33%, but this is woefully short of what's needed. Our message to the government is 'must try harder'"

Mother of three Laura Lashmar, from Sheffield, says she loved walking to school with her mum and would hate for her children to miss out. Laura said:- "Just as my mum walked me to school I've done the same with my boys. Walking with your children when they're younger is a wonderful opportunity to spend some quality time together and hear about their day. It's also a good way to show them road safety skills, so when they're older and want to walk to school on their own or with their friends, you can feel comfortable that they're familiar with routes and how to cross roads. It's important for children to develop independence and walking to school is a good way to build their confidence."

Community Pain Service scoop £10,000 award

Picture shows Joanne Iddon (Clinical Psychology Assistant), Dr Chris Barker (Clinical Director) and Dr Becky Simm (Principal Clinical Psychologist)

HEALTH professionals working in Southport have scooped a prestigious £10,000 award.  The Grünenthal Pain Awards, which took place in Bournemouth, aim to recognise innovation and excellence in the field of pain management.

The Community Pain Service at Ainsdale Centre for Health and Well-being won first prize with their project "I-Gro: growing pain patients' strengths, expertise and wellbeing through a therapeutic tool and solution-focussed interactive smartphone and tablet application".

Once developed, the app will be piloted within the service's pain management programme to help patients set personalised, self-management goals and review their progress.

Dr Chris Barker, Clinical Director for the service, said:- "We are really proud to win this award. It will enable us to build on our achievements in the pain service by creating a tablet/smartphone app which helps develop quality of life for chronic pain sufferers.  We've already been working hard on this in our pain management programme, and now having the opportunity to translate this work into an electronic format to reach many more people is very exciting."

Public welcome at Trust board meeting

SOUTHPORT and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust will hold its next board meeting on Wednesday, 29 May 2013, at 9am.  The meeting will be held in the Board Room in the Corporate Management Office at Southport and Formby District General Hospital.  Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe the meeting. Anyone with a special requirement should contact the Trust in advance on:- 01704 704714.  The agenda will be available on the Trust website in advance of the meeting. Supporting papers will be made available on the day.

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