Foundation of Light

Youngsters target heart health

by Foundation of Light

Foundation of Light delivering more key courses.

At a time when statistics show that as many as one in 10 children are obese by the time they start primary school, the Foundation of Light have been taking direct action with the help of Heart Research UK.

Thirty Year 5 pupils from a South Tyneside Primary School recently took part in a sports festival as part of the ‘Heart of the Game’ programme running in the region.

The programme aims to improve awareness of health and fitness in youngsters aged 7-11 years with a view to improving long-term heart health.

The pupils from St. Gregory’s Primary School in South Shields took part in the 10-week course developed and delivered by the Foundation of Light, with funding from Heart Research UK.

The course covers topics including what makes a healthy diet and the importance of living an active lifestyle using a combination of classroom based education and physical/coaching sessions.

The project has run in almost every primary school in South Tyneside with more than 1,500 individual participants attending 560 sessions.

‘Heart of the Game’ also includes family activities, meaning the positive messages are transmitted into the home environment as well as the school setting.

Rob Grainey, Heart of the Game Co-ordinator for the Foundation of Light, commented:

“The festival is a good opportunity for the pupils to celebrate their learning and it’s positive to see how much they have learned in such a short period of time.

“The schools really enjoy the programme as it gets young people more interested in leading a healthy lifestyle. It also links to the national curriculum and the pupils with sessions being suitable for Ofsted inspection.”

Miss Watson, Year 5 Teacher at St. Gregory’s Primary School added: “It’s fantastic how the programme is delivered, in terms of linking sport, especially football, to eating healthy and the benefits of having an active lifestyle.  All the Year 5 pupils look forward to the session and have really enjoyed the 10-week programme.”

Katharine Greathead, Lifestyle Officer for Heart Research UK said:  “We are delighted to have been involved second year with the Heart of the Game project which is reaching hundreds of children across South Tyneside.  It is so important to sow the seeds of a heart-healthy lifestyle in primary school children, and one of the strengths is that the children can share their learning with their parents.

“The Sunderland AFC coaches are great role models and make these events fun and interactive and practice what they preach.”

The programme involves a mixture of classroom based and physical activity sessions, including the use of the Foundation’s ‘Active Bus’ (sponsored by Arriva) to give ‘Health MOTs’ to children taking part, measuring their heart rate, body fat, BMI and other health indicators.

The ‘Heart of the Game’ programme has been funded thanks to the Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grant programme, and is delivered free of charge to schools in South Tyneside.