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Classes for overweight children

Free 10-week health courses for overweight children and their families in Wales are to offer advice on healthy eating, physical activity and shopping on a budget.

About 2,000 seven to 13-year-olds are the target of the £1.4 million scheme, which is intended to change behaviour and build children's confidence.

The Welsh Assembly Government has said that the classes, to be held twice a week after referral by a GP, will concentrate on "weight management skills".

The Mend project - Mind, Exercise, Nutrition ... Do It! - was devised by child health experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital and University College London.

Pilot schemes have been running since last September, with some families in Rhondda Cynon Taf losing an average 4.3 cm (1.7 in) from their waistlines after six months.

About one in five 13-year-olds in Wales is said to be obese or overweight, and an NHS dietician has revealed that children as young as two have been treated for obesity.

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