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News article – Style E 2995

News article – Style E 2995

IRFU & Vhi Healthcare’s Fit for Fun’ Programme.

IRFU and Vhi Healthcare tackle kids’ health with unique Fit for Fun’ programme

Irish children are increasingly inactive and eating less healthily – more exercise
will positively impact on nation’s future health.

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The Irish Rugby Football Union and Vhi Healthcare have just launched
the Fit for Fun’ Programme. This unique programme will assist primary
schools in encouraging children to be more active and to embrace healthier lifestyles
by benchmarking fitness and monitoring progress achieved after six weeks.

The consumption of fast food and lack of physical activity are contributing
factors to many various health problems that can be experienced in later life
such as heart disease and diabetes. Recently in one Dublin hospital alone there
were more than 100 obese children being treated for a range of disorders all
caused by poor diet and lack of exercise.

The IRFU/Vhi Healthcare Fit for Fun’ programme targets boys and girls during
their most formative years to show them the clear benefits of exercise and health

Commenting on the programme, Mr. Andy Crawford, IRFU Junior Vice President,
said: “Young children have many distractions in their lives, which sometimes
means that physical exercise comes last in their priorities. This programme
aims to reverse this process and ensure that regular exercise is also part of
their daily routine. Through close co-operation with Vhi Healthcare, the programme
has been designed to ensure that all children are catered for to build their
awareness of a healthier lifestyle.”

Dr. Bernadette Carr, Medical Director Vhi Healthcare said, “Childhood
obesity in Ireland is a time bomb storing up problems for future healthcare.
A recent study shows that on average Irish schoolchildren are becoming increasingly
overweight and inactive. Children are now consuming 50% less fresh fruit and
vegetables than they were five years ago and spend more than 15 hours per week
watching television. This will have a serious impact on them in later life and
indeed at the present time with onditions like heart disease and diabetes being
particularly to the fore. Vhi Healthcare is delighted to be working with the
IRFU in bringing Fit for Fun’ Programme to primary schools which will aim to
reverse this trend for the sake of our children’s future health”.

This fitness programme concentrates on skill development. A series of ABC’s
(Agility, Balance, Co-ordination and Speed) together with challenges and activities
are outlined in the programme. Teacher handbooks provide a rationale on this
fitness development approach. Exercises include fun activities such as crossing
the snake pit, Boot up, Knees up, frog hopping, the ejector seat, pushing the
truck, putting on your trousers and many more!

A key component to the programme will be two branded vans, which will be travelling
throughout the country to the schools with IRFU/Vhi Healthcare fitness trainers.
The trainers will test the children’s fitness initially and instruct teachers
and children on elements of the programme.

Educational material will be given to each child in the school and will include
an exercise/lifestyle full colour poster and a series of exercise cards. A wall
scale’ for the classroom to measure vertical jumping and a teachers’ activity
guide will be provided to the school. The fitness trainers will return six weeks
later to monitor progress and benchmark the fitness levels achieved together
with giving completion certificates to the children.

This programme will commence on a phased basis and will spread to other schools
in all areas of Dublin and around the country over a three-year period.

Further information on the fitness programme visit: www.vhi.ie