Cambridge Regional College - Centre of Vocational Excellence

CRC training is helping fight childhood obesity

A pilot scheme to train nursery staff to educate parents and their young people about healthy living has been developed in Cambridge to help fight childhood obesity.

The innovative new teaching programme, which is being developed to roll out across the UK, has been set up by Cambridge Regional College in a group partnership which includes Cambridge Childhood Partnership, the British Heart Foundation and the NHS.

With one in six 10 and 11 year-olds in Cambridgeshire reportedly obese, nursery staff are coming to the college to learn how to make changes to the play areas, the activities and the food offered to the children in their nurseries.

The first two groups of 20 students, all employed in the childcare sector, have recently completed their qualifications and are taking the healthy living message back to their nurseries to enhance practice.

Dr Pam Byrd, head of Early Education teaching at CRC, said the success of the first cohort had prompted increasing demand for the programme and the next group will start this month.

“The early years of a child’s development are very important and the more active and healthy they are when young, the more likely they are to be healthy as adults,” she said.

“The Government is concerned about the increasing problem of childhood obesity and these new qualifications will help combat that by training nursery staff to teach children and their parents about the benefits of physical activity and good nutrition from a very early age.”

The new qualifications, the Certificate in Early Years Physical Activity and Nutrition for Early Years Practitioners and the Physical Activity and Nutrition Co-ordinator (PANCo) are the result of two years of collaboration between CRC, CCP and health organisations.

“The long term aim is to establish a UK-wide network of nursery practitioners trained in nutrition and physical activity to help teach the importance of health and wellbeing to parents across the country,” said Pam.

“A major concern of Early Years professionals nationwide is the need for training in the effective delivery of physical activity and good nutrition to children and we hope this pilot programme will be rolled out across the country.”

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For more information, please contact Lynn O’Shea, Cambridge Regional College Press Officer, on 01223 418773 or email

Cambridge Regional College is one of the largest providers of full-time further education for 16 to 19 year-olds in the eastern region, with around 4,000 full-time and 6,000 part-time students, and more than 3,500 apprentices currently in training.

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