Book to combat obesity launched

Ryan Mccloskey holds onto his copy of Margaret Cunningham's new book at the launch at Donal Casey Court. DER4713SL030 Photo: Stephen Latimer
Ryan Mccloskey holds onto his copy of Margaret Cunningham's new book at the launch at Donal Casey Court. DER4713SL030 Photo: Stephen Latimer
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Local community worker, Margaret Cunningham, launched a book to combat obesity this week.

Margaret, who is a community support worker with Habinteg Housing, launched the book ‘Picnic in the Park with Sally and Sam’ in the common room in Donal Casey Court on Tuesday morning.

The Deputy Mayor of Derry, Alderman Gary Middleton pictured at the launch of Margaret Cunningham new book, Picnic in the park with Sally and Sam. Included, are Eddie Doherty Housing executive, lee Casey, GP, Ann Gallagher, Habinteg and Patricia Ferris, nurse Oakleaf Medical. DER4713SL31

The Deputy Mayor of Derry, Alderman Gary Middleton pictured at the launch of Margaret Cunningham new book, Picnic in the park with Sally and Sam. Included, are Eddie Doherty Housing executive, lee Casey, GP, Ann Gallagher, Habinteg and Patricia Ferris, nurse Oakleaf Medical. DER4713SL31

“I am really impressed with Margaret’s book,” said Oakleaf Medical Practice, doctor, Lee Casey.

“Not only does it stress the importance of healthy diet and exercise to children the book also gives good solid advice to parents too - we’ll definitely be taking a few copies to hand out to our patients at the surgery,” he said.

Dr. Casey explained that childhood obesity was on the increase and said that anything that goes toward combating the problem must be welcomed.

“It’s all about educating people and giving the information they need in order to live a more healthy life.

“I think Margaret’s book definitely does that,” he added.

Margaret uses children’s dolls to illustrate the picnic in the park in her book.

On a sunny Sunday morning in the middle of summer, Margaret went to the play park beside Templemore Sports Complex to shoot the photos for her book.

“It was great fun doing the photo shoot. We made sure we got there nice and early i so not to disturb anyone but an older man and his little grand-daughter entered the park. I don’t think the man knew where to look but the little girl ran over to us and started playing with all of the dolls,” said Margaret laughing.

Over 300 copies of the book have been published and several primary schools in the Outer West area have agreed to take supply of them.

“Obviously, the whole point of this book is to combat obesity amongst children.

“We can’t bury our heads in the sand because this is a very real and serious issue - the more preventative measures we take now the better it will be in the long run.

“I really enjoyed putting this book together and I would like to thank my employers Habinteg Housing Association for allowing me the time to develop new skills in health education.

Margaret explained the book would not have been published had it not be been for the unrelenting hard work and support from COSY Club Development Worker, Geraldine Fitzpatrick.

“It was because of Geraldine that we won the funding to deliver a health programme like this one and the book is part of that programme.

“Geraldine and the COSY Club have been so supportive and they are here today to lend a helping hand,” smiled Margaret.

“It’s funded by the Housing Executive’s Community Grant Fund.

“I want to thank the Housing Executive for their help in putting the project together - I am very grateful.”

Geraldine Fitzpatrick said the reason she applied for the funding was because the members of the COSY Club wanted to participate in an initiative that would help their grandchildren to remain fit and healthy.

“A lot of our members are older people who spend time with their grandchildren so they thought it would be great to be able to do something as interesting as contribute to a project that will help them live happy and healthy lives.”

Local school children attended Tuesday’s book launch and after Margaret had finished her speech, refreshments were served.

“As you can see here today we are being totally consistent with our healthy eating message.

“All of the school children are drinking water and eating fruit - it’s a hell of a lot better than a bottle of pop and a bar of chocolate,” said Margaret.

For more information on Margaret’s book contact her by telephone on 028 71 370191.