Healthy Under 5's scheme is laying the foundations for life

A healthier lifestyle in the Early Years lays the foundation for the rest of a child’s life and holds the key to tackling childhood obesity. That’s why Trailblazers Nursery, who are based near Bugle, have been recognised as one of the first nurseries in Cornwall to receive a Healthy Under 5s certificate, for their work supporting children, parents and the wider community to become healthier.

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The Healthy Under 5s programme, from Cornwall Council, aims to encourage and support all Early Years providers to become health promoting environments and encourage healthy lifestyles from an early age.  The programme gets children and parents talking about healthy eating, dental health, physical activity, accident prevention and emotional health.

Healthy Under 5s Coordinator, Shelley Jamieson, said: “Early Years providers play a really key role because they can reach out to a large number of people in the community and hopefully make a huge difference.

“The idea behind the programme is to lay the foundations early on and that will help the children to live a healthier lifestyle as they grow older.   But it’s also about empowering the staff because they have the power and the ability to amplify that message into the wider community and to engage parents and carers.”

The programme isn’t just about Healthy Eating; it also includes ways for parents and children to become Sugar Smart, teaches children the important of brushing their teeth properly and the importance of getting a good night’s sleep.

Nursery Manager Elaine Taylor said:  “When I read about the programme I thought it really suited our nursery and I wanted the best for the children in our care.  I think it is very achievable for anyone; a few simple changes to the daily running of the nursery can make a huge difference.

“The support from the community has been brilliant and parents are fully supportive.  One thing we have focussed on is dental health and we’ve had great support from the Brighter Smiles programme.

“They brought tooth paste for all the children, showed the children how to brush their teeth properly and they took that home and enthusiastically showed their parents.”

There is a "stark" increase between the ages of seven and 11 in the proportion of children in the UK who are overweight or obese according to data. The study of nearly 12,000 children found 25% were overweight or obese at age seven, rising to 35% at 11.

Anita Torres is one of the mums at Trailblazers Nursery, she said: “It is really important that this message is getting out there, because a lot of children are not eating healthily and it is important to start them young.  My daughter now asks for water and fruit and isn’t that bothered about juice and sweets.  She’s also been really keen to practice her tooth brushing and is getting really good at it.”

Over 100 Early Years providers are now signed up to the programme, but it’s hoped more will sign up to the scheme which is delivered by Healthy Cornwall.

Cabinet Member for Children, Wellbeing and Public Health, Sally Hawken, said: “It’s good to hear about the work being done by nurseries in Cornwall and the positive impact this is having on the lifestyles of children.  We want to ensure that every child has the best start in life and it’s important to make the most of support services like this.”

For more information on Healthy Under 5s visit