Youngsters learn from Leeds Rhinos how Smart Swaps mean healthy habits

Newlands Primary Smart Swappers join Cllr Mulherin, Emma Strachan, Janet Munro and Rhinos Ash Handley and Robbie Ward

As Health Eating Week got under way, children at Morley Newlands primary school were delighted when they won a chance to meet Rhinos players Ash Handley and Robbie Ward after a top performance in the Smart Swaps healthy eating challenge this year.

We know more than one in ten Leeds children in their last year at primary school are overweight, so Leeds City Council’s Public Health team has teamed up with schools and Leeds Rhinos to encourage families to make easy swaps from unhealthy snacks and healthy ones. Morley Newlands Primary did so well, they were winners of the Smart Swaps Leeds Rugby Assembly.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

Leeds has been doing really well in recent Smart Swap campaigns, and I was delighted to hear about the amazing efforts made by the children at Morley Newlands Primary school to eat more healthily. It is great that alongside thousands of other individuals and families around the city, they are heading in the right direction to live longer, healthier lives by ditching unhealthy snacks and swapping to alternatives which are just as tasty, but also better for them.

Smart Swaps aren’t just for children of course. We can all look after ourselves by making small changes to what we eat and drink, and there’s loads of good advice at: http://www.leedsletschange.co.uk/smartswaps One of the Newlands teachers has swapped tea and biscuits for water and fruit and one of the individual award winning children told the assembly that they were spending time doing physical activity instead of playing on the Playstation.

Emma Strachan, health improvement specialist with Leeds City Council’s Public Health team, said:

Healthy diets make a big difference to your health. For instance, we know sugar doesn’t just have an impact on teeth, it causes fat to build up inside the body, with potential consequences like heart disease, some cancers, or type 2 diabetes later in life. The Smart Swapathon has been a great chance to get loads of people, schools and organisations on board with making healthier choices, and we’ll be building on this in the future.

Janet Munro, is the healthy schools co-ordinator at the school. She said:

Mums and dads want a healthy diet for their children and we’ve been delighted to help encourage the children to take up the challenge. It has been great to see the children do so well and we were delighted to have the Rhinos come along to school as a reward.

Did you know?

  •  Consuming food and drink high in sugar means extra calories which causes fat to build up inside, that could lead to heart disease, cancer or type 2 diabetes
  • By the time they leave primary school, one in three children are carrying excess weight
  • Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop illnesses such as type 2 diabetes , go onto experience weight and health problems in adolescence, and are more likely to become overweight or obese adults
  • Almost one-third of five year olds in England had tooth decay with stark inequalities across the country and Leeds – which we are targeting with the #LeedsSmiles campaign http://www.leedssmiles.co.uk/
  • Children’s sugar consumption, as a percentage of energy intake, is up to 50% greater than recommended, with soft drinks contributing 17% of sugar intake amongst 4-10 year olds and 30% of sugar intake amongst teenagers

 

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