MLA Dan Ashton chats with Anita Bains, theory leader for the MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, DO It!) program, teaching children and family healthy lifestyle tools. Steve Kidd/Western News

Family approach to a healthy lifestyle

Developing healthy lifestyles for children with the whole family

A new program takes a whole family approach to teaching kids about healthy lifestyles.

MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!) is geared to children of unhealthy weight, but nutritionist Anita Bains explains that a parent or guardian attends each session with their child. Sometimes, she said, it’s both parents or even siblings that come along to support.

“It is really nice to have the whole family involved,” said Bains, explaining that the goal is to get parents and children on the same page when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. “It gives the parents and the kids a common language to talk about food.”

That’s done over the course of 10 weeks, with two two-hour afterschool sessions a week. The sessions are interactive and fun.

“We have games where they learn about their bodies and stretching,” said Bains. The environment is geared to help kids who might have had bad experiences in exercise or gym class.

“It’s a nice supportive environment where they can learn to use their bodies and feel good about themselves.”

The fun goes beyond just the sessions. Bains said part of the program is a detective game, where kids can track down how much fat and sugar is in different products.

“They go around the store and they check the labels. They use that card to find products that are healthy for them. They get to be detectives for the day and also to be healthier,” said Bains. One child even emptied the cupboards at home and categorized all the food depending on whether it was MEND-Friendly or Mend-Unfriendly.

“She had taken the information and she was applying it at home, which is what we want to see,” said Bains. “I have worked at a lot of afterschool programs and I’ve also worked with adults and to have them come together, it’s really a nice way to help people understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

“It’s a fun, friendly way to talk about changes in diet.”

MEND takes place at Parkway Elementary School, with the next session starting April 18. For information and registration, contact the Penticton Community Centre at 250-490-2426 or email

Just Posted

Budding tennis stars learn the ropes

Students at local elementary schools get some lessons in tennis

Lawsuit claims medication mishandling at Penticton’s hospital

The claimant says her doctor ramped up her bipolar medication before cutting her off

Reel Reviews: The Commuter arrives, but The Post delivers

We say, “The Post is taut and electric. The Commuter is clever.”

Tychonik continues scoring run

Vees chalk up another win with Pink in the Rink

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Taking kindness to a new level

Students make thoughtfulness a year-round initiative

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington on Vancouver Island

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, vehicles buried under more than three feet of snow

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Most Read