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Something to Chew On

The Foundation’s 'Something to Chew On' project is helping children to eat healthier and get active.

| by Rachael Pilsbury

An Early Goal in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

The initial findings from the project show that after taking part in the programme:

  • The number of children taking part in regular outdoor physical activity increased by 25%
  • The number of children walking to and from school increased by 16%
  • The number of children swimming regularly increased by 19% 

The programme is also having a positive effect on children’s eating habits.  After taking part in the programme:

  • Children who said that they ate fruit every day for breakfast increased by 10%
  • Children who said that they drank fruit juice every day for breakfast increased by 15%

Andy Smith, project coordinator was extremely happy with the results of the programme so far, he said:

“We are really happy because what this study shows is that the pilot of ‘Something to Chew On’ is really working.  By making the messages about healthy lifestyles fun and easy to understand and by linking lessons to the players and the football club we are having a real, positive effect on the way children behave.”  

Manchester United goalkeeper, Edwin Van Der Sar, visited the programme last year.  Talking of his own experiences of healthy living as a family, Edwin said:

“I try to eat healthily with my kids and encourage them to exercise regularly.  Leading a healthy lifestyle is easy, but you have to make the decision to do it and stick to it.  Once you start to change the way you eat and to exercise more, the benefits will really start to show. “

The programme is also having a positive effect on the partner schools, with some schools taking the programme on as part of its ongoing curriculum.  Pat Arnold, Head-teacher, The Friars School in Salford said:

“Something To Chew On has certainly raised the profile and status of healthy eating amongst the children at the Friars.  It has been fantastic having the coaches in school but I think what is even better for us is that the coaches will be training our staff so it will now become a sustainable part of our curriculum.  It is going to leave a real legacy with the school.” 

Funded by the Premier League/PFA Community Fund and the Food Standards Agency, ‘Something to Chew On’ is an interactive project aimed at teaching 7-8 year olds about their own health, themed around food, nutrition and getting active but with a football focus.