AFTER shocking statistics revealed a third of all Warwickshire children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school a Leamington charity is urging schools to help reduce youngsters’ waistlines.
Kids Run Free work locally and nationally to inspire young children to be fit for life and are encouraging more schools to sign up to their free Marathon Kids programme.
It comes after health chiefs in the county said they would be stepping up efforts to fight the rise in childhood obesity with so many youngsters obese by the age of 11, and with one in five overweight when they start primary school.
Marathon Kids gives youngsters aged four to 11 the opportunity to run or walk the distance of up to four marathons throughout the school year.
In Warwickshire alone the charity is working with 2,000 children from 11 primary schools who have run a total of 14,698km – the equivalent to 348 marathons.
The charity have partnered with Loughborough University to research the implementation, and Marathon Kids US to develop a programme which they say really works to help kids love being activity.
Founder and chief executive Martine Verweij told The Observer: “We work to educate kids that activity can be fun and we use five pillars to help[ them – they set their own goals and work hard for them; we provide a digital tracking system to measure their progress; encouraging parents to get involved gives the kids role models; we want to celebrate all achievements; and we offer incentives and rewards to keep every motivated toward achieving their goals
“No one wants their child to be unhealthy but I think there is a lack of education, people don’t what food is good and what is bad for them. Or what enough activity is.
“It is so important for kids to be taught about keeping active and healthy lifestyles.
“Nike are our sponsors now so we offer the package for free and schools can then buy add ons of extra equipment, tracking and certificates.
“We are so proud the merits of our Marathon Kids programme have been recognised and supported by a world-leading brand like Nike.
“We believe that our programme is having a positive impact in this children’s lives and we know our programme works, because it has been tested and adapted since its beginning four years ago.”
Visit www.kidsrunfree.co.uk for more information.