Running his own dairy farm keeps Scone father Nick Hinde busy most days but taking part in Healthy Dads Healthy Kids has not only left him more than 4kgs lighter but has also increased the amount of time he spends exercising and with his children.
The award-winning Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids programme is a partnership between Coal & Allied, Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI), the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health, and the community.
It’s being rolled out in communities across the Upper Hunter Valley, and runs for seven sessions over 12 weeks, focusing on weight loss, healthy eating, and physical activity sessions designed to help dads and their children bond.
Mr Hinde signed up to participate after his eight year old daughter Georgie brought home a flyer about the programme from school and joined forces with her 12 year old sister Chloe to convince him to sign up.
“Both Georgie and Chloe are very active girls. They play lots of sports like soccer and cricket so they really wanted me to do this with them,” Mr Hinde said.“I thought I could probably lose a bit of weight and it would be a fun way to spend some time bonding with the kids as I usually start work at 5am and don’t finish until 6pm.
“I was amazed to lose 4.3kgs over the course of the programme, which was almost five per cent of my original body weight, and six centimetres off my waistline!
“For me, the programme reinforced just how important it is to be a positive role model and lead by example for our children as their behaviour is largely influenced by their parents.
“We grow our own vegetables and tend to eat pretty well, but for me it was reducing the portion sizes and cutting back on the naughty snacks and alcohol.
“I now go for a walk around breakfast time and have fun exercising with the girls at the end of the day. We go for a walk, jog, or a bike ride, and we have a good catch up about what’s going on at school and so on.
“I’ve actually lost more weight since the programme finished. When I originally started I was 90kgs and now I’m down to 83kgs and I feel great. Chloe even said to me that I used to have a belly but now it’s gone!”
Healthy Dads Healthy Kidsprogramme manager Dr Drew Miller said the average weight loss for Scone fathers who took part in the programme was 3kgs, the average percentage of body weight lost was around three per cent, and the average size lost around the waist was close to 4cm.
“This is an excellent result and those fathers should be very proud of what they’ve achieved,” Dr Miller said.
"Children with an overweight father are four times as likely to be overweight at the age of 18, so dads have an important role in developing healthy nutrition and regular physical activity in their kids.
“While the statistical health improvements are a significant achievement, the best reward of all is that the children are spending more time with their dad and learning about healthy food and exercise.”
Coal & Allied Principal Community Investment Stephen Sneddon said Coal & Allied is pleased to support the programme and is encouraged by the results from Scone.
“This programme has now run in Newcastle, Singleton, and Scone, and is making a significant and positive difference to the quality of life for many fathers and their families,” Mr Sneddon said.
“We are pleased to show our support by investing $525,000 over three years through our Coal & Allied Community Development Fund, to make sure dads in the Upper Hunter have the opportunity to get involved.”
The programme is currently being run in Maitland and will come to Singleton and Muswellbrook in August, followed by Cessnock in November later this year.
Families in the Upper Hunter interested in participating in the programme can contact Dr Drew Miller on 0425 308 186 or email Andrew.Miller@newcastle.edu.au.