Hundreds of Kent schoolchildren have taken part in training to become Change4Life Champions and encourage their classmates to be more active.
The Change4Life Champions programme is funded by Kent Sport, with support from Sport England and Take Pride CIC, and has seen more than 1,000 pupils take part in its first year.
The latest training event at the Kent Event Centre saw 16 schools and another 300 children learning different ways to be active and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Leading the event was Julia Youens from Take Pride who said: “The training is to equip these young ambassadors with the tools they need to be able to go back to their own schools and share the key messages, the importance of being active and leading a healthy lifestyle. This can be through lessons, clubs and assemblies but it’s all about giving them a better understanding so they can spread the message.”
Through a range of different activities, the attendees learned about the importance of communication and management alongside nutrition, fitness and how to run a playtime activity.
Kaylea Rozier from Leybourne C of E Primary School was one of those taking part. She said: “We’ve met lots of children from different schools so we’ve learned how to communicate with people we didn’t know and how to work together as a team. We’ve also learned lots about fats and sugars and to eat a bit of everything, not just horrible stuff.”
According to Public Health England figures, the number of primary children meeting the recommended amount of physical activity for healthy development and to maintain a healthy weight, which is 60 minutes a day, drops by 40% as they move through primary school[i]. Currently, just 23% of boys and 16% of girls in the South East currently meet the national recommended level of activity.[ii]
In Kent, one in five children enter primary school overweight or obese but this increases to one in three pupils leaving primary school overweight or obese. Obese children are not only at increased risk of immediate health problems; they are also more likely to become obese adults. In Kent nearly 65% of people aged over 16 are overweight or obese – that’s over 800,000 people*.
Tim Sells from Kent Sport said: “We’re happy to support this event and it’s important the kids go back to their schools and promote healthy living and fitness and activity alongside diet. The national focus is about getting adults and children who are not active to become more active and the Champions training is a great way to get that message out.”
KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “It’s great to see even more schools and children getting involved in Change4Life as they really are the best ambassadors for encouraging their friends and family to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. We all need to eat well and move more; making small changes can help families to live healthier and longer lives.”
According to the Public Health England, Change4Life campaign – children under 5 need 3 hours of activity a day while children aged 5 to 16 need to be active for at least 60 minutes each day. It is recommended that adults need to be active for at least 150 minutes each week.
For more information and ideas on activities, go to http://www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/change4life/family-activities-to-move-more
*801,330 using the latest mid year 16+ population estimates from ONS.
[i] Health Survey for England 2015. Available from: http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB22610/HSE2015-Child-phy-act.pdf [Accessed May 2017] – The decrease of 39% between those aged 5-7 and 11-12 is the relative percentage change in physical activity levels as published in the Health Survey for England 20151. The percentage change is calculated as the relative change in the proportion of children meeting the physical activity recommendations* between those aged 5-7 and 11-12. The proportion of children meeting the recommendations* decreased between the ages 5-7 and 11-12 by 11 percentage points (28% to 17%), which equates to a relative change of 39%.The method for calculating the relative change is to subtract the new value by the old value, divide this by the old value and multiply by 100.
[ii] Health Survey for England 2015. Available from: http://content.digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB22610/HSE2015-Child-phy-act.pdf [Accessed May 2017]