independent

Friday 18 October 2019

A HEALTHY FOCUS

SAOIRSE MCGARRIGLE

TACKLING the issue of childhood obesity has become a central objective for parents, childcare providers and anyone with an interest in the care of young children. In light of this the Wexford County Childcare Committee entitled its ninth annual conference, 'Healthy Lifestyle – Happy Life'. The conference, which was held at the Ferrycarrig Hotel on Saturday, was organised to demonstrate the link between physical and emotional wellbeing in children.

There was a wide variety of groups and individuals in attendance at this year's conference. Childcare development officers Eithne Gallagher and Jillian White explained that the event was intended to cater for everyone involved in caring for children, parents or childcare providers.

Emer Murphy Tomkins, a special needs assistant, pointed out that the conference was particularly informative for people working with children with special needs. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle and physical activity is important when assisting children with conditions such as autistic spectrum disorder. There was also a significant number of early childhood care and education students from the Wexford Campus of Carlow IT in attendance. Students Elaine O'Brien and Vivienne Rothwell expressed the need for conferences such as this in order to increase the profile of childcare providers as a profession.

A schedule of activities addressed the need not only for children to lead a healthy life style, but for their parents or carers to do so also. With respect to this, guest speaker Dr Mary O'Kane, delivered a lecture entitled ' The Impact of Parent/Carer's Health and Wellbeing on the Child'.

In an interesting twist on the conventional format of a conference, Tony Carty, head chef at the Ferrycarrig Hotel, led a cookery demonstration of healthy meals for all the family.

This was followed by a closing lecture on the role of physical activity in childhood by Dr Marc Armitage.

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