With the year drawing to a close and a season of unfettered indulgence approaching, a new government-funded healthy lifestyle program being rolled out in response to rising rates of childhood obesity.

According to the Federal Government, one in four Australian children are overweight or obese.

Queensland is looking to drive this figure down, by push the PEACH (Parenting, Eating and Activity for Child Health) program state-wide.

Research has already shown that the program works. It has been evaluated as effective in a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)-funded trial the results of which were published in 2011 in Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The program will roll out again in 16 locations around Queensland after the school holidays finish in early October.

“PEACH was launched two years ago and more than 500 Queensland families have taken part so far. The response we have had so far has been very encouraging and reinforces the need for the program,” said program director and head of QUT's Exercise and Nutrition Sciences School, Professor Lynne Daniels.

“Parents should not feel guilty if they think their child is overweight, but they do need to make change in their family's lifestyle which is where the PEACH Program can help.

“By taking a parent-led approach, the program ensures that children are not stigmatised but that healthy change is made at a family level and therefore the benefits are there for all.”

The program runs for six months and consists of 10 group sessions that run for 90 minutes each.

The first nine sessions are held weekly within the school term. Ongoing individualised family support is offered through the second half of the program ending with one final group session.

Topics covered include nutrition skills, relationships with food and eating, changing family lifestyle behaviours and making healthy eating affordable. While the parent sessions are taking place, children enjoy active play with a trained child physical activity facilitator.

The program will be offered for the first time at Mitchelton and Kuluin on the Sunshine Coast. It will also be run in Inala, Redcliffe, Mackenzie, North Lakes, Dutton Park, Logan, Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Hervey Bay, the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Gladstone.

Families can contact the PEACH program on free call 1800 263 519 or register directly at the PEACH website.