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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.