Teachers encourage dads to join health program

Jun 13 2012

Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids program

Local teachers from Cessnock are encouraging dads to get involved in the Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids program which gives local fathers the opportunity to learn about the latest information on nutrition and exercise for their family, while spending quality time with their kids.

The program, led by Professor Philip Morgan, is a partnership between the Coal & Allied Community Development Fund, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Hunter New England Health and the University ofNewcastle.

The program begins on Wednesday 20 June and runs over 12 weeks with eight sessions held on Wednesday nights from 5.45pm- 7.15pm.
Local dad and Deputy Principal of Cessnock Public School Shaun Graham participated in Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids when it came to town last year and said it presented a great opportunity to lead by example.

“It worked out that our school was going to host the program and as a deputy principal I felt it was a perfect opportunity to get to know our school dads better and do something good for my family,” Mr Graham said.

“I was able to lose 3.7 per cent of my starting weight and I have since implemented healthy lifestyle habits into my family’s life.

“I also joined the program to spend more time with my 11 year old step daughter Jasmine and it has certainly strengthened our bond.

“We cook dinner together more often now and try to be active and get outside as much as we can.

“It is a fantastic program for dads to spend more time with their kids but also learn about healthy lifestyle habits – I strongly recommend local dads to give it a go.”

Cessnock East Public School teacher and father Brian Procter said that he lost an outstanding 15kgs since joining last year’s program and is aiming to lose another 15kgs.

“My weight was really starting to have a significant impact on my ability to play with my two kids and I was saddened that is was robbing them of fun memories with me,” Mr Procter said.

“I realised I needed to become a better role model for my 15 year old daughter and 12-year-old son as I didn’t want them to grow up overweight like I did.

“The best thing about the program was spending time with my kids however there was an added benefit of losing weight and keeping it off as well.

“Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids gave me the knowledge and practical encouragement to keep striving for a healthy lifestyle and to maintain it.

“As a teacher, the program has turned me into a better role model for my students in educating them about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.”

Lead investigator Professor Philip Morgan from the University of Newcastle said he was proud to holdHealthy Dads, Healthy Kids in Cessnock again this year.

“The program has been very successful in seeing dads such as Brian and Shaun lose weight, learn about healthy lifestyles and spend time with their children by participating in fun physical activities,” Professor Morgan said.

“Dads have the important responsibility of setting an example for their children and their entire family.

“By developing healthy eating and exercise habits, children can follow in their father’s footsteps and develop healthy lifestyles as well.”

Coal & Allied Principal Community Investment Stephen Sneddon said Coal & Allied is proud to supportHealthy Dads, Healthy Kids and is looking forward to reaching out to more Cessnock dads this year.

“This program has now run in Newcastle, Singleton, Scone, Maitland, Muswellbrook, and Cessnock and is making a significant and positive difference to the quality of life for many fathers and their families,” Mr Sneddon said.

“Since 2010, we have been pleased to support this program by investing $525,000 over three years through our Coal & Allied Community Development Fund which has seen more than 200 dads and more than 300 children successfully complete the program.

“This funding has helped convert the University of Newcastle’s research into a community-owned model that can be managed and run by local people in our Upper Hunter Valley communities into the future.

“A portion of the funding has been used to develop local people with the skill-set and knowledge to assist in the ongoing facilitation of the program in their local communities.

“Coal & Allied understands the importance of healthy lifestyles and we encourage local dads in Cessnock to take the initiative and join the program.”

To find out more information about the program or to register, please contact Joel Cruickshank on (02) 4921 6721 or email joel.cruickshank@newcastle.edu.au. Registrations close Tuesday 19 June 2012. Website: http://www.healthydadshealthykids.com.au/