Approximately 1 in 5 children in NSW are considered overweight or obese. Achieving the NSW Premier’s priority of reducing childhood obesity prevalence by 5% by 2025 will result in a further 62,000 children being a healthy weight. To meet this goal, NSW is delivering the Go4Fun program, complemented by a range of obesity prevention strategies.
Go4Fun is a free, evidence-based, community weight management program for children aged 7-13 and their families. It has been delivered at scale across NSW since 2011, reaching over 12,000 families. The program involves healthy eating, games-based physical activity and behaviour change sessions, delivered by health and community professionals once per week, over 10 weeks.
Children achieve clinically and statistically significant changes in health and weight-related outcomes. On average, BMI decreases by 0.5kg/m2 and waist circumference by 1.2cm. There is an increase in the number of days children meet the National Physical Activity Guidelines, and a decrease in average daily sedentary time.
Positive diet outcomes include significantly improved intake of fruit and vegetables, and a reduction in sweet and salty snack food, takeaway consumption, confectionary and sugar sweetened beverages. Children’s self-esteem also increases by the completion of the program.
Enhancements have been made to the Go4Fun program to improve access for priority population groups. A culturally safe and appropriate program was developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. Since January 2017, more than 669 families have participated. An online model has also been developed for families who cannot attend the standard program, particularly those in remote and rural communities. 337 children have participated in the online modality since January 2017. All program adaptations demonstrate similar health outcomes for participating families.
Go4Fun is supporting positive health outcomes for participants, and has been successful in improving reach and access for priority population groups in NSW.