Change4life - have you joined us yet?

Did you know that if we carry on as we are, 9 out of 10 of today's kids risk growing up with dangerous levels of fat in their bodies? This can cause serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes in later life.

We all want our children to grow up to be happy, healthy adults. But it can sometimes be hard to know how. So Change4Life has been launched to help us all, but especially our kids, eat well, move more and live longer.

Change4Life is all about making small changes to help your kids build healthy bodies. And here at Woking Borough Council we're getting involved by running activities including:

8 small changes 4 a healthier future

Change4Life isn't about telling families what to do. It's about providing you with lots of tips and ideas so that you can choose the ways that will work best for your family.

There are 8 `changes' that parents need to make to help give their kids a healthier future. Here's a quick introduction to each one, together with a tip.

1. Sugar swaps

Swapping sugary snacks and drinks for ones that have no added sugar can make a significant difference to kids' calorie intake.

Example tip: switch from sugary drinks to drinks with no added sugar such as water, unsweetened fruit juice or even sugar-free fizzy drinks.

2. Me size meals

Even though they're growing, kids need to eat the right amount for their age - not too little and not too much.

Example tip: Explain to parents the importance of giving kids a portion that matches their size, not the same amount of food as themselves.

3. Meal time

It's important for kids to have regular, proper meals to help them establish better eating habits.

Example tip: Encourage kids to eat breakfast - low sugar cereals, toast or fruit are a great way to kick-start their day. Why not also read the Change4life good breakfast guide

4. Snack check

Many snacks are full of things that are bad for us, so it's important to keep an eye on how many less healthy snacks kids are having.

Example tip: try and keep count: many people are surprised how many sweets, crisps and biscuits their kids get through!

5. 5 A Day

It's easier than people often think to give kids five portions of fruit and veg a day. For kids, one portion is roughly a handful.

Example tip: Frozen and canned fruit and veg count too - it's quick and cheap to boil some frozen peas or open a can of sweetcorn.

6. Cut back fat

We all know that too much fat is bad for us, but it's not always easy to tell where it's lurking.

Example tip: By grilling or baking food in the oven rather than frying it, you can cut the fat content by as much as half.

7. 60 active minutes

Kids need to do at least 60 minutes of activity a day to help them stay happy and healthy.

Example tip: It doesn't have to be organised sport - running around, going to the playground or just walking instead of taking the car all count.

8. Up and about

Spending too long in front of the TV, computer or video games can mean we don't burn off enough energy and store up fat in our bodies.

Example tip: Setting a daily time limit for sitting still (e.g. `2 hours max') is a good way to keep kids active.

You can use the Change4life wall chart to help monitor your progress on the 8 changes above, parents can also fill in the how are the kids? Questionnaire

If your family has not yet joined Change4Life, why not do it today? You'll get lots of tips and ideas to help you make sure your kids are eating properly and getting enough exercise. Search for `Change4Life' or call 0300 123 4567.*

*Calls to 03 numbers should cost no more than geographic 01 or 02 UK-wide calls, and may be part of inclusive minutes subject to your provider and your call package.