9% of pre-school children in the UK are obese.  4 to 5 -year- old children are already marked, even before they begin formal education. When they arrive at secondary school, the numbers reach 30%. A future of physical and psychological damage unfolds.

Many are trying to change this scenario.  So far, with few successes.

There is no single reason for this below-par record. The causes of child obesity are complex. Genuine efforts at solutions are un-coordinated, sometimes they do not address the root causes.

The Wonder of Me sets out to change this.

Fourteen years in the making, The Wonder of Me was finally formed at Harvard.  Founder Edna Kissmann, a Fellow of the 2016 Advanced Leadership Initiative, is breaking away from traditional public-health campaigns. She and her team of experts are convinced that their approach can bring about better results.

One belief and three principles drive this commitment.

Creating life-long healthy habits in young children is at the core.  Enabling the children to become change agents for themselves and their families is the mission of The Wonder of ME.

Three principles are involved:

  1. Behaviour change learning: Creating life-long healthy habits depends on behaviour change, which is a tough and a long-term process. It means learning new skills, adding knowledge through action, and building through repeat practice, the confidence in the choices that are made.
  2. Direct involvement: The children are at the centre of the programme and take control of their own choices. They use their pester power to influence what the family eats and does.  Learning happens best through play, fun activities and discussion; with direct experience and involvement.
  3. Integration rather than “siloism”: With children in focus, delivery depends on integrating the actions of those around them: parents/caregivers, schools and the community in which they live.

This is achieved by a set of tools developed for and by the children (with help from behaviour change and child development experts). The result is a digital game – Change Tree.    Activities that reinforce the subluminal nudges in the game form a behaviour change curriculum and help translate Change Tree into real life situations.  The entire package it is designed with an eye to school lessons plans.

We need your help in making this happen.

We would love to have your endorsement of our ideas. We will also welcome your friendly-critical questions. Introductions to people who can offer financial support or access to others who can, will be most appreciated.

Fighting the long fight can be lonely without the company and cheers of supportive friends.

We hope you share our concern for our children and the desire to change their world.

Who we are

Edna Kissmann    

Edna Kissmann is a communication strategist with a worldwide reputation as an advisor, mentor and a formal coach to senior teams of leading global organisations.

Edna Kissmann is a healthcare communications innovator.  She developed an approach based on the management of perceptions, which influence the way scientific evidence is understood and used by non-scientists. She is also one of the early advocates for the involvement of patients in decisions about care.

Edna spent 21 years in the global firm of Burson-Marsteller, ultimately leading the global healthcare practice. She carried on campaigning on health and patient issues under the banner of Kissmann Langford Consulting, her own boutique consultancy.

Her leadership was recognised when she was invited to the University of Harvard in 2016, as a Fellow of the Advanced Leadership Initiative.

Carl Draper

Carl Draper is a BAFTA nominated digital Producer with 18 years experience working on high profile projects for broadcasters and educators.

He has performed in a wide range of roles covering proposition development, research, content strategy, content production, UX and product management.

He has a  proven track record of successfully shaping and delivering projects by connecting the dots between content, technology and people.

Dr Nicola Eccles

Dr Nicola Eccles, Director of Research at CP Active and Senior Lecturer in Health and Physical Activity at The University of Huddersfield, has been working in health-related behaviour for over 20 years. Nicola has been involved in the design, implementation and evaluation of several significant health- based interventions across the UK including one of the first family-based childhood obesity treatment programmes, subliminal nudges to reduce inactivity in the workplace and a variety of innovative physical activity and wellbeing work with a range of hard-to reach populations.

Nicola teaches across a range of undergraduate and Masters programmes in the field of health, physical activity and behaviour change. In 2015, Nicola co-founded CP Active, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to enhance the health of communities across the UK. CP Active creates bespoke initiatives which incorporate prompts or nudges, rather than information, alongside an evaluation of their impact. CP Active prioritises qualitative understanding so that it can communicate ‘how’ and ‘why’ rather than reliance on statistical data.

Dr Edward McCaffrey

Award winning Producer/Director/Writer, Eddie McCaffrey, is the founder of internet TV company, Joose TV. Clients include the World Health Organization, The Oxford Health Alliance, the UK’s Department of Health and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – with documentaries, events filming, live and on-demand webcasts, high-profile interviews, case-study films, website/app design and builds. Eddie is a consultant on online content, strategy and management, to organisations that want to maximise their online presence.

Eddie is also a Senior Lecturer on the BA/MA Film program at Middlesex University, London, where he has just completed a Professional Doctorate. Eddie’s Doctorate looked at the relationship between academia and the corporate/NGO film sectors and how things, especially in the field of human health and chronic diseases, can be improved.

Dr Heather McKee

Heather is a specialist in behaviour change and a PhD in food psychology. A well-published author and expert, her involvement in the field runs the gamut of personal coaching, consultancy to companies and government, lecturing and media advisory.

Debora Targino

Debora has a background in Law and enjoys using her analytical and problem solving skills to address major social problems. She is a self-starter but also a team player, having worked for public governments, social enterprises, not-for-profit organisations and as a freelancer, both in the UK and internationally. Over the last ten years, she took part in various projects and had the chance to develop skills, such as: negotiation and mediation, planning and project management, communication with different stakeholders and research.

She has a strong commitment to children’s rights and supporting diverse and vulnerable population. She is a people person, curious and a true learner.

Julie Whittaker

Julie is an experienced communications expert with a background primarily in healthcare.  Her work with many pharmaceutical companies has developed her interest and passion to tackle the problems of obesity, particularly amongst children.   This work has included setting up Oxford Health Alliance – a global coalition to tackle the epidemic of chronic diseases.

Julie has experience of working in the not-for-profit sector including three years as Communications Director at Ashoka UK with specific responsibility for their corporate partnerships.

Her passion for changing the lives of children is evidenced by her commitment to serving as a governor of an inner-city school in Central London.