A WEE COUNTY woman hopes to use her slimming success to help others achieve healthier lifestyles, along with tackling the rise of obesity in adults and youngsters.

When Sandra Cashmore joined her local Slimming World group in Alva nearly three years ago she dropped from 16 to 11 stones.

Her weight crept up after breaking her ankle and not being able to leave her flat for six weeks and it continued to pile on until she recognised her high blood pressure and risk of stroke or diabetes.

Now, as her daughter has left home for university, she has some time on her hands and wants to use it to help others.

As a parent and ex-primary school teacher, she is also passionate about delivering a healthy message to young people.

Sandra has trained as a consultant for Slimming World at their national training academy in Derbyshire and will open her own group in Clackmannan at The County Bar tomorrow (Thursday, April 5).

The latest government figures reveal that around one in four adults are obese and it is estimated that, by 2034, this will increase to one in three.

Sandra said: “Obesity is becoming such a huge issue across the UK. When I first joined Slimming World as a member, I never dreamed that I would end up helping other people to lose weight, but now I just can’t wait to get started.

“After losing five stone and completing my training, it’s a privilege for me to be able to pass on the experience, insight and understanding that helped me, so that I can give my members the support they need to get to target.”

Along with its eating plan for adults, Slimming World has a framework for young people aged 11-15 that is called free2go and focuses on healthy choices and activity, as opposed to weight loss.

They can join for free, as long as they are accompanied by a paying adult who is responsible for their meals, and will not be set target weights.

Instead, they have age specific BMI centile charts from the Child Growth Foundation and their BMI is monitored regularly.

Slimming World consultants also inform the child’s GP that they are attending and invite them to get in touch if they would like more information.

Sandra said: “The emphasis is on healthy eating and physical activity rather than weight loss.

“Studies of children with an obese BMI have found that losing weight improves self-esteem and quality of life, while attending a weight management club leads to improvement in wellbeing.

“Among young people who attend Slimming World 30 per cent eat fewer take-aways and fast food, 45 per cent have reduced how often they eat unhealthy snacks and 33 per cent are more likely to eat their five a day.

“In addition, 21 per cent spend more time playing sport and 10 per cent spend more time out with friends rather than watching TV or playing computer games.”

Sandra’s group will start at 7.30pm and for more information or to join, either pop along on the night or call her on 07484225538.