Bath Rugby players Leroy Houston and Ross Batty visited Redland Primary School in Chippenham on Wednesday morning to help Bath Rugby Foundation deliver "Something to Chew On", a Premiership Rugby programme which uses rugby as the hook to enthuse children to eat more healthily and be more active.
The visit coincided with the practical food making session led by Bath Rugby Foundation Coach Joe Aygul. The players worked alongside the children to make a sandwich and helped guide them towards choosing healthy and balanced fillings. During the visit the players also spoke to the pupils about the importance of a balanced diet and participated in a lively Q&A where the Year 3 and 4 children got to grill the players on their own diets and healthy lifestyle choices.
Leroy Houston told the children: "My food intake is really important. It gives me the right balance of nutrients to allow me to stay at the top of my game. Without a balanced diet I would not have enough energy, and my body wouldn't repair itself effectively, which would stop me being able to train and play. I think it's fantastic to be supporting the next generation of players through the Something to Chew On project and to help them make healthy choices in their lives. As well as eating the right foods, they get to be active which is really important."
The Something to Chew On programme is a five week, in school engagement with Year 3 and 4 classes. Each week Bath Rugby Foundation's experienced and enthusiastic coaches deliver one hour of rugby themed healthy eating teaching in the classroom, followed by an hour of food themed tag rugby and the fundamentals of movement on the pitch. All learning is in line with the national curriculum. Funded by BT Sport's "The Supporters Club" and Public Health England, it is delivered nationally by all 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Clubs.
According to Public Health England figures, one in five children entering primary school are overweight or obese. This increases to one in three by the time they leave for secondary school. As being overweight as a child often tracks into adulthood, the potential for England's adult obesity levels to increase is significant. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be overweight or obese. Giving children the knowledge, opportunity and motivation to eat better and move more now, has never been more pressing. (Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet 2013)
As a sport, rugby provides boys and girls with role models of all shapes and sizes. Everyone has a place in the team and Bath Rugby's professional players reinforce positive messaging about healthy eating and body image simultaneously. They act as inspiration to get kids more active. The tag rugby element of the two hour session helps to increase children's uptake of physical activity and supports the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines that all children should engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least an hour a day.
This term, Bath Rugby Foundation has delivered the programme in St Joseph's' Primary, Devizes and St John's Primary, Trowbridge as well as Redland Primary School.