Promoting behaviour change through healthy eating
- Portfolio total project costs: £2,236,573
- Total funding received from BIG: £1,806,000
- Total number of beneficiaries: 33,500
Stockport MBC delivered 19 projects through its Wellbeing 2 portfolio, working across the three programme themes, in some of the most deprived areas in the North West.
The project lead highlighted successful activities around the healthy eating theme delivered by the
Wellbeing in the North West project led by Stockport MBC. The project delivered two courses: The Cook Your…. course focused on weight loss and general health, and the Cook and Taste course provided practical healthy cooking advice. The project also provided an accredited course on healthy eating for people with medical conditions and special dietary requirements. Close links were made with the local authority, which referred people to the courses and also provided the venues. The six week course was long enough to produce behavioural change, but too short for participants to achieve significant weight loss, so an additional weight drop-in session was delivered to maintain contact and support longer-term change.
Participant/community impacts and sustainability
Stockport MBC’s portfolio aimed to impact on 5,500 children, adults and the wider community around the healthy eating theme by improving their diet, food skills and eating habits. The portfolio also aimed to reduce participants’ BMI through their engagement in community food programmes and increased involvement in local food production. By the end of the grant the portfolio had engaged 12,782 children, parents and members of the wider community in community food projects and increased their knowledge around diet and nutrition, compared to a target of 4,500 people. Furthermore, by the end of the grant 5,356 people reported improvements in their food skills and eating habits, compared to a target of 2,800 people. In the final year of the portfolio, 1,116 people who were at risk of obesity/ already obese had reduced their BMI by participating in community food interventions, and 2,012 people reported improved access to healthy foods by their community being supported to grow food locally or establish local food co-operatives. In total, the portfolio reported that 12,600 people improved their awareness and behaviour regarding healthy eating through portfolio activities.
The project lead reported that participants on the Cook Your…. course and the Cook and Tastecourse reduced their fat consumption, ate more fruit and vegetables and cooked more meals from scratch.
The healthy eating courses also reduced social isolation and loneliness by building social networks. Young parents undertaking the cooking classes reported developing strong friendships and support networks which continued beyond the delivery period.
In terms of sustaining behaviour change and building social wellbeing assets, the portfolio evaluation found that the optimal length of engagement in healthy eating activities should be between 4 and 6 months. This length of time was shown to enable participants to form new habits and also encouraged a transition to mainstream services or attending weekly classes