Local GP and father of four Dr Jon Pauley is urging local dads to sign up to the award-winning Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids programme when it comes back to Singleton on 10 August 2011.
The owner of Dr Pauley’s Surgery joined the programme last year with his youngest child, nine-year-old Sofia, and enjoyed the health and family benefits so much he has decided to do it again this year.
Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids is a partnership between Coal & Allied, Hunter Medical Research Institute, the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.
The programme is 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.
Dr Pauley has practised in Singleton for more than 10 years and said he had observed a growing dependence on convenience, instead of making healthy choices, as work pressures took a toll on local families.
“We are being driven by a need to work more, to earn more and spend more,” Dr Pauley said.
“However, the price we are really paying is that we are not getting enough quality time with our kids and families, we are eating too much takeaway or packaged foods, and we are getting very little exercise.
“Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids is a great way to restore a healthy balance to your family.”
The 1999-2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle Study indicates 60 per cent of Australians aged 25 years and over are overweight. Of these, 21 per cent are obese.
Men are also more likely than women to be overweight, with 67 per cent of men compared with 52 per cent of women (aged 25 years and over) being overweight.
“As parents, we are leaders in our homes and it is up to us to set long-term health goals to reduce our risk of disease, and become better role models for our children,” Dr Pauley said.
Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids programme manager Dr Drew Miller, from the University of Newcastle, said he hoped the programme would attract even more dads and children from Singleton than last year.
“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,” Dr Miller said.
“While the statistical health improvements are a significant achievement, the best reward of all is that the children are spending more time with their dads and learning about healthy food and exercise.”
Coal & Allied Principal Community Investment Stephen Sneddon said Coal & Allied was pleased to support the programme, which was making a positive difference to the quality of life for many families.
“We are pleased to show our support by investing $525,000 over three years through our Coal & Allied Community Development Fund, to encourage dads in the Upper Hunter to sign up,” Mr Sneddon said.
“The fund provides support to local projects in the Hunter Valley in a range of areas such as education and training, and health to increase the long-term sustainability of communities surrounding our operations.”
Dr Pauley said his two oldest children, aged 24 and 20, fondly remembered the years when he was still a university student and had little money to spend.
“My two oldest children have actually told me that some of their best memories were going toNewcastle beach and making sandcastles, which was cheap, easy, and fun to do,” Dr Pauley said.
“It is often the simple things in life that bring us the most enjoyment and health benefits, and Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids is a programme that strongly promotes those back-to-basic principles.
“The most important thing I gained from the programme last year, aside from the quality time withSofia, was cutting back on impulse eating and assessing whether I really needed those extra calories.
“Planning your meals for the day helps keep you more satisfied, gives you more energy, makes you eat more healthily, and reduces the likelihood of eating out of boredom.”
Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids has already rolled out in Newcastle, Singleton, and Scone. It is currently being run in Maitland and will be in Singleton in August, Muswellbrook in September, and Cessnock in November. The programme in Singleton will take place every Wednesday at Singleton ChristianCollege, commencing 10 August 2011, from 5:45pm to 7:15pm for 12 weeks. Registrations close COB Saturday 30 July 2011.
Families in the Upper Hunter interested in participating in the programme can contact Dr Drew Miller on (02) 4921 6721 or email Andrew.Miller@newcastle.edu.au