Local parents are being asked to keep a look out for Healthy Hebridean Kids, a new campaign launching on Sunday 16 March, aimed at helping local parents, family members and carers of children aged 3-6 years to be healthier and happier by making healthy lifestyle choices.

Over the next few months, posters featuring local children will be run on social media, with each one offering advice and useful tips on the things parents and carers can do to encourage healthy living habits in children.

In addition, a new website will also be launched to support the campaign and provide useful information and advice to parents and family members.

Colin Gilmour, NHS Western Isles Head of Health Improvement and Chair of the Maternal and Infant Nutrition (MIN) group, said: “What children eat and drink during their early years can influence their future habits as they grow older. By giving our children the best start in life, we will help them live longer, healthier lives and reduce their risk of developing a range of health issues later in life.”

Latest figures show children in the Outer Hebrides have some of the highest BMIs in Scotland. Being overweight in childhood can lead to health issues in later life, such as obesity, heart disease, low self-esteem and diabetes. This is why it is important to encourage healthy habits early.

Karen France, NHS Western Isles Nutrition, Dietetic & Catering Services Manager, added: “Any parent who would like further information or support can confidentially self-refer their child to our Healthy Hebridean Kids Child Healthy Weight programmes, which are free of charge. Our aim through this campaign is to support children to achieve a healthier weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle – it is not about dieting or calorie counting.”

Healthy Hebridean Kids is hosted by the NHS Western Isles Maternal & Infant Nutrition Group (MIN), a partnership group whose members include Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Action for Children and Community Groups, which aims to improve the health of parents, children and families. Further information on MIN work and Healthy Hebridean Kids can be found at www.parentingwi.scot.nhs.uk