A new programme designed to help children kick-start a healthy regime is being launched in Edinburgh.

The ‘Get Going’ programme, which is being run in partnership between NHS Lothian and Edinburgh Leisure, aims to help tackle rising levels of obesity and weight problems in young children.

It is designed to help the whole family work towards being as healthy as possible, and for children to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

From January 2010 the programme will be offered free of charge to children and their families.

To access the scheme, children who are overweight can be referred by their GP, health visitor or school nurse, and parents can also register their own child for the scheme.

Get Going consists of eight sessions, taking place in Edinburgh Leisure or community venues once a week. It starts with a one-to-one consultation with the family and a specially trained healthy lifestyle coach.

This will be followed by a series of interactive group sessions, each of which will include six children and their parents.

Each week a different topic will be covered, from introducing a healthier eating plan, to discussions around physical activity and thinking about the amount of time spent watching television or playing on the computer.

Get Going gives parents and carers the chance to share ideas and experiences with other families, while children get the opportunity to make friends and take part in fun, active games.

At the end of the programme, a follow up one-to-one session with the family and healthy lifestyle coach will examine the progress which has been made.

Participating families will also be given a Leisure Card to access Edinburgh Leisure facilities at a discounted rate, encouraging the participants to maintain an active lifestyle for the long term.

Sarah Dempster, Child Healthy Lifestyle Co-ordinator, Edinburgh Leisure, is co-ordinating the scheme. She said: “More and more children are heavier than is healthy for their age and height.  There are lots of reasons for this and it's not always easy for parents to make sure their children maintain a healthy weight.  But a few small lifestyle changes really can make a difference.

“By launching Get Going Edinburgh Leisure hope to provide families with the guidance and tools they need to make realistic changes that they can keep up long term.  Through helping children to develop healthy habits at an early age, we also hope to reduce the health risks associated with adult obesity.  Edinburgh Leisure have a team of inspiring coaches who will help families find ways to build physical activity into their daily lives and to enjoy eating well. 

“The most important thing is that it's fun and that children enjoy taking part.”

Dr Graham Mackenzie, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Lothian, said: “Children and young people who are an unhealthy weight are more likely to develop health problems now and when they get older, and it’s important to encourage a healthy lifestyle from a young age.

“The ‘Get Going’ programme combines behavioural change with healthy eating advice and physical activity. We are working with partners in leisure facilities and education across Lothian, as well as specialist NHS staff, to provide a fun and effective programme for children and young people who need help to achieve a healthy weight.”

For more information, or to refer your child for the programme, contact Sarah Dempster, Child Healthy Lifestyle Co-ordinator, Edinburgh Leisure, on 0131 458 2100 or email

Notes for editors:

  1. Get Going is funded by NHS Lothian, but is run in partnership with Edinburgh Leisure.
  2. The free sessions take place in Edinburgh Leisure or community venues, once a week over eight weeks. Each lasts between 60-90 minutes.


Issued: 06.01.10

Aileen MacArthur

Communications Officer

NHS Lothian

0131 536 9315


Allison Brodie

PR Officer

Edinburgh Leisure

0131 458 2104

Contact: Aileen MacArthur
Phone: 0131 536 9315