A NEW health project for children is hoping to drive down obesity on Wearside.
Youngsters from Hudson Road School are taking part in the B’Young ‘N’ B’Fit scheme, aimed at promoting an active lifestyle at an early age.
The Hendon school’s Year Six pupils are taking part as figures from the National Child Measurement Programme revealed nearly a third of 10 to 11-year-olds in England are overweight or obese.
The children took part in exercise, movement and dance activities during the classes.
Tracy Collins, who runs B’Active N’Be Fit, said: “Inactivity in children is a worrying problem as it can lead to many future health issues when they reach adulthood such as obesity which in turn can lead to many health conditions such as diabetes and some cancers.
“Many children choose to spend their leisure time behind a computer console rather than participating in physical activity which may be impacting on national statistics that reveal that one in four children are classified as obese. Unfortunately this number may rise in the future if action is not taken.”
It is now hoped the programme will be rolled out across Sunderland schools as a way of getting pupils more active.
As part of the scheme, pupils were asked to give their views on what they liked or disliked about taking part.
Tracy added: “The children at Hudson Road Primary School who participated in the pilot study are an excellent example of how children can embrace physical activity showing enthusiasm to learn new skills when exercise programmes are tailored and structured to meet the needs of children.
“We are now rolling out the learning and evidence base of the pilot study to a number of other primary schools across Sunderland with great success.
“The earlier we target children with positive messages to exercise and activity the better the outlook will be for future generations in terms of their health status.”
Exercise instructor Ernest Chisenga added: “The children were so engaging at Hudson Road and very enthusiastic.
“I saw a great improvement in their fitness and agility levels over the course of the programme.
“The staff at the school were so supportive as well, which really helped.”