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Child Obesity Support Programme
What's On Top
= Most of you will probably be aware of our name-change. What used to be Ara Kereru is now COSPRO - but it's the same thing underneath. COSPRO stands for Child Obesity Support Programme... as if you hadn't already guessed!
There are two reasons for the name change. First, many individuals and agencies had assumed that because of the Maori name, the programme was Maori-specific, which of course it is not! Second, I got a telling-off for using a Maori name without consulting iwi or kaumatua. My bad, but my intentions were good... honest!
Anyway, I have been individually contacting interested agencies to advise them of the name-change. If you haven't been contacted yet, you should receive a new info pack about COSPRO in the post soon.
New info pamphlets have also been printed, and this opportunity has been taken to update and simplify them. You will find copies of the pamphlets in the new COSPRO pack. If you would like more pamphlets just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you could simply photocopy the originals.
= Interest in the Programme has continued to grow despite the name change hiccup, and COSPRO is now listed in:
Ministry of Social Development - Family Services National Directory http://www.familyservices.govt.nz/
Wellington City Council - Online Directory www.wellingtoncity.govt.nz
If you know of any other agencies or individual families who may be interested in finding out more about COSPRO, give them a pamphlet and invite them to get in touch!
Topics Of Interest
= I took my 8 year old daughter to see the movie Wall-E. Have you seen it? I mention this because the movie raises the important issue of rising obesity rates in a simple and very direct way. Sure, Wall-E isn't about obesity per se; it's about a little robot called Wall-E which is left on an Earth rendered uninhabitable to human beings because of pollution. But the impact of rising obesity rates - and it's effect on human beings - is a central part of the story.
I had mixed feelings about Wall-E. My daughter liked it, but I'm not sure if she grasped that particular underlying concept in a meaningful way. Did it simply confirm in her a belief (however unintentional) that obese people are "greedy and lazy"? I hope not, and I hope that the positive conclusion of the movie went some way towards dispelling any ideas around that which she may have had.
Either way, I do wonder what children with weight challenges and their families will make of Wall-E...
= The Government continues to address obesity and its associated Type 2 diabetes 'epidemic' as a major contemporary health issue:
Such initiatives as Fruit In Schools and Food Labelling are gaining ground, and that's all good. But do you ever get the feeling that such initiatives are simply addressing symptoms (e.g; not eating well) as opposed to actual causes (contemporary lifestyle)? You might get a child to eat a banana or two, but if that child isn't actively encouraged to recognise his or her inherent need for physical activity and a bit of rough-and-tumble, what's the point?
Has our current tendency to preserve children's physical safety at any cost contributed to rising rates of obesity in our kids? Or is that a moot point?
= Remember Xenical? It was big news when it first came out, but it's ''safety and effectiveness ... in children or adolescents under the age of 18 years has (still) not been established''. (Deletion & parenthesis added).
Fair enough, and it's undeniably a good thing that government agencies such as Medsafe still take a conservative view of novel pharmaceutical products, whatever their supposed benefit. After all, we rely on such agencies as an essential resource to support our health and wellbeing - and that of our children.
So what of overweight kids who might be in need of pharmaceutical products to support their weight loss? Do doctors prescribe Xenical (or other restricted pharmaceutical products) to kids whose weight-health issues exceed those of the possible adverse effects of such prescribed drugs?
Any information around this issue from involved health professionals would be much appreciated.
In The News
= Several international agencies have reported a 'plateau' or levelling-off of rising rates of child obesity in the West:
So this is good news. But however you view it, the individual child living with obesity (and his or her family) might take cold comfort. There is always a danger of complacency when positive statistics are put forward, and the actual overweight boy or girl who still gets teased or bullied, misses out on group sports or play, and maybe feels bad about him or herself because of his or her weight, probably doesn't care too much about international statistics.
Something to think about.
Also, I think that community agencies need to be very careful not to let such statistics lead us into complacency ourselves. There is still a lot of work to do...
= Here are a few answers to some commonly asked questions about COSPRO:
- COSPRO aims to help overweight children develop confidence and physical fitness by gradually involving them in community-based social and physical activities.
- COSPRO is not a weight-loss programme as such, although members may experience weight loss as a result of increased physical activity.
- COSPRO is non-profit. There is no fee to join.
Below is a flow-chart simplifying how the COSPRO programme works:
COSPRO Child Obesity Support Programme
Family of overweight child, Community agencies, Government agencies
Overweight child; Confidence & self-esteem, Physical challenges, Motivation, Bullying & other social challenges
Physical activity, Social activity, Support from family, Support from community, Healthy lifestyle
Physically & socially healthy child
Of course, this is an 'ideal representation' of the programme, and no agency or parent should ever expect things to go quite that smoothly! Nonetheless, this is the principle method by which COSPRO operates.
Email your comments, ideas, thoughts, opinions, and questions to email@example.com for publication in this newsletter.
You can also include any child obesity related news, topics of interest, or events that you or your agency may be involved with.