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Campaign launched as figures show one in three Kent children leave primary school overweight or obese

PUBLISHED: 13:56 19 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 19 July 2017

Cecil Road School, Gravesend

Cecil Road School, Gravesend

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One in five children also begin primary school overweight or obese

A campaign has been launched to help children become more active after figures showed one in three Kent pupils leave primary school overweight or obese.

The data also suggests one in five begin primary school overweight or obese and health chiefs are concerned it means they are more likely to become obese adults.

In Kent, nearly 65 per cent of people aged over 16 fall into that category - more than 800,000 people.

As a result Kent County Council is supporting Public Health England’s 10 Minute Shake Up campaign to promote a healthier lifestyle for families.

Schools like Cecil Road Primary School in Gravesend are currently receiving 10 Minute Shake Up Passport packs with a range of activities to prompt children to keep active over the summer.

The school’s PE co-ordinator Mark Neville said: “We believe this is really important for the school because it is inclusive and every child has the opportunity to play and be active; we’ve run morning clubs which have meant the children are on time now, having breakfast and are happier – this has had a positive impact in the classroom and on the whole school.”

Pupils at the school have also become Change4Life Champions to encourage their classmates to be active and eat healthier food.

Amrit Cheema, 11, said: “In the playground we like to make sure everyone is playing a game rather than just sitting about and most people join in.”

Jessica Hall, 10, added: “It makes me feel happier to see my friends getting involved and I get my family to be more healthy too as it’s important for all of us.”

KCC director of public health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “We wholeheartedly support the Change4Life and 10 Minute Shake Up campaigns in Kent and love that schoolchildren are becoming champions on this issue to encourage their friends and family.

“To maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, we all need to both eat well and move more.

“Even making small changes can help families to live healthier and longer lives.”

To help children in the south east do more activity throughout the summer holidays, Change4Life is today launching its 10 Minute Shake Ups programme with Disney and schools across the country.

The activities, designed for children to do anywhere in small or large groups with their friends, help children get more of the 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they need each day for healthy development and to maintain a healthy weight.

Angela Baker, deputy director, Health and Wellbeing for Public Health England South East, said: “Whether it is playing balloon volleyball with the Frozen characters, circuit training with Toy Story heroes or hopping with Judy from Zootropolis - this campaign is a chance to get children in the area excited about exercise.

“It is worrying that we are seeing so many more children leave primary school overweight than started, and we hope our Disney-inspired programme is one way of helping to reduce this.”

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