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Parents challenged to set a healthier example

Parents challenged to set a healthier example

When was the last time your family had a meal together without TV or mobile phones? Went for a walk together? Tried a new fruit or vegetable?

More than half of Aussie parents have confessed to being “told off” by their kids for unhealthy habits, according to new research.

Highlighting the need for families to adopt healthier habits, the release of the research comes as Life Education and healthcare group Bupa Australia launch Healthy Harold’s Family Challenge, calling on families to dedicate one week to healthy living.

The Challenge involves families spending a week tackling tasks to promote nutrition, exercise, family time and general wellbeing – such as limiting TV to 30 minutes a day, switching fruit juice and fizzy drinks with water, going on a family walk, or building a veggie patch.

Iron Man Guy Leech and triple Olympian Nicole Livingstone were among the first to sign their families up to the inaugural challenge, with the help of Australian lifestyle icon Healthy Harold at the launch event held at Maroubra Bay Public School.

Bupa’s Health and Wellness Adviser, Guy Leech, believes the Challenge is timely given recent, revealing research on the health habits of Australian families.

“A recent survey conducted among 500 parents showed that more than half (51%) had been told off by their children for doing something unhealthy, and almost one in five parents admitted they were not a healthy role model1,” said Guy.

“However, 78% of parents agree that it is very important that their children are taught at school about their body and the importance of healthy eating, the effects of smoking and peer pressure, and 92% talk about these issues with them at home as well.”

Nicole Livingstone, triple Olympian and mother of three, is excited to be joining the Challenge with her family:

“We’re all guilty of taking not-so-healthy short cuts. For me, the Challenge will be a fun way to encourage my family to work together and re-evaluate what really matters – spending time together and looking after each other,” said Nicole.

“The Challenge is a great way to start family conversations, and a useful tool for turning good intentions into positive actions. As parents, if we take the lead and set a positive example, some of the healthy habits may stick for more than seven days!”

David Ballhausen, CEO of Life Education Australia, said Healthy Harold’s Family Challenge built on the life skills and messages children were learning at schools through the Life Education program and gave parents the opportunity to reinforce Life Education’s important work. 

“More and more, kids are having a say in what goes on in their family each week, and if they are choosing healthy options the whole family benefits. We also know that ‘doing’ is the best way of learning. This is a terrific opportunity to put positive choices into practice at home where they can be reinforced by parents and friends in a fun way”, he said.

The Challenge will run each school term for the next 12 months. Families interested in participating in the Challenge should visit Healthy Harold's Family Challenge website.

In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes, the Challenge is an opportunity to raise money for Life Education through fundraising and participating families could also win a range of prizes including a family holiday to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

For further information please contact:

Anne Wickham
Boxing Clever Pty Ltd
Phone: 0419 185 664 
Stella Tilkeridis
Media & Corporate Communications, Bupa
Phone: 0400 120 978

Note to Editors:
1A survey of 500 parents commissioned by Bupa Australia and Life Education and conducted by Pure Profile during 2011

Life Education and Healthy Harold

Working in partnership with teachers and parents through schools, Life Education has provided drug and health education to more than 4 million school-aged children over the past 32 years. In 2010, Life Education worked in over 3,200 schools supporting teachers by delivering its program to over 600,000 children, empowering them to make informed choices for a safe and healthy life, with the help of its much loved mascot Healthy Harold.

About Bupa

As Australia’s largest privately owned healthcare group, Bupa’s purpose is to help Australians live longer, healthier, happier lives. Bupa Australia Pty Limited proudly provides health insurance to more than three million Australians under the well known health insurance brands MBF, HBA, and Mutual Community. 

It also provides complementary healthcare services through Bupa Health Dialog, Peak Health Management and Blink Optical. Bupa Care Services Pty Limited is an aged care provider with 47 facilities around Australia. 

Bupa focuses on providing sustainable healthcare solutions that represent real value, and on leading the industry in the promotion of preventive health and wellness – helping customers better manage their health for the long-term. Bupa’s Australian businesses are part of the international Bupa Group, which cares for more than 30 million people in over 190 countries.