INVOLVING whole families in sport and leisure activities could be the way to encouraging more young people to get fit and stay healthy.

This was the general consensus of groups and individuals who attended a sports summit chaired by Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame.

Scientific research has shown that involving parents in weight loss efforts could go a long way in helping children and young people to change their habits.

Experienced contributors from sports clubs, local authorities and health backgrounds met at the Tontine Hotel in Peebles and focussed their discussion on primary pupils and the involvement of the entire family unit.

Ms Grahame said: "Childhood obesity and diabetes is growing at an alarming rate in Scotland and it is time this changed. We thought it would be a good idea to encourage whole families to take part in a scheme whereby they perhaps keep an e-diary of exercise and food consumption with the incentive of discounted entrance to various facilities throughout the constituency.

"It is currently a work in progress but could easily be developed as a website with healthy eating tips and exercise/activity ideas for the whole family to help guide everyone to a healthier lifestyle."

Ms Grahame, in her previous role as convener of Health and Sport at the Scottish Parliament, studied the issue of falling fitness of young people, starting as early as nursery.

She added: "Encouraging whole families to take part in activities together will mean the attitude of our young people will change for the future and we will hopefully greatly reduce the risk of the likes of diabetes, obesity, heart disease etc for future generations.

"I intend to keep in touch with those who attended the summit and ensure that we continue to work together to develop a strategy for my constituents that could well be taken forward for the whole country in years to come. At least, get people talking to each other about the best way forward."