Leicester Tigers launch healthy school programme

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Leicester Tigers and Global Payments have announced a new partnership to encourage school children to get active and eat healthily.

The Global Payments Healthy Schools initiative starts next term and is delivered by representatives from the rugby club across a week.

Students, parents and staff from the Leicester Diabetes Centre’s Cities Changing Diabetes team were invited to the launch of the project on Wednesday, February 14, at the Oval Park Training Ground.

There, Tigers player Tatafu Polota-Nau and the club’s head of strength and conditioning Alex Martin gave a talk about the role a healthy diet and exercise has in the professional game.

At the moment 11 schools have signed up to take part, during which a Tigers health education officer will visit, leading various talks, activities and competitions about the importance of healthy eating, a balanced diet and exercise.

Ashleigh Theobald, Leicester Tigers’ health education officer who will be visiting the schools, said:

“We have developed this programme to help combat the very recent increase of childhood obesity and decrease in levels of attainment in schools within the area.
“Leicester has been named as one of the leading cities within these areas and has an average life expectancy that sits below the England average - we think it’s time to change!”

As well as urban diabetes, childhood obesity has also become a real issue for many young people which is contributing to the type 2 diabetes epidemic.

Carol Akroyd, from the Leicester Cities Changing Diabetes team, said:

“We were very impressed to hear about the partnership between Leicester Tigers and Global Payments.
“We already know Leicester’s diabetes prevalence rate is among one of the highest in the UK at 8.9 per cent and well above the national average of 6.4 per cent. With those figures in mind, it makes total sense to start educating children early, so they can make the right choices about their health.
“We have no doubt the project will be a success and we look forward to finding out if there are any lessons that can be learnt during the process that can help inform our research and the work we are doing with the Leicester Changing Diabetes programme.”

The programme is due to start at Fosse Primary School at the start of the new term, with a view to reaching over 4,500 kids in total this year.

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