Rising levels of child obesity and physical inactivity as a result of modern lifestyles are currently high on the global education agenda. In a bid to tackle this situation a road show under the auspices of Sporting Chance, in association with Kellogg’s®, Virgin Active, Kia Charity and Care and the Western Cape Department of Health Promotions, will visit schools throughout the Western Cape from Monday 6 until Thursday 16 September.
According to Brad Bing of Sporting Chance, the youth sports development agency that conceived and co-ordinates the events, the aim of the road show is to highlight the importance of physical activity in children’s lives. “Sporting Chance will also visit various communities throughout the Western Cape, including Gugulethu, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Masiphumelele, Langa and Manenberg to address social concerns such as nutrition, how to lead an active life; prevent obesity and principles of personal hygiene,” says Bing.
The road shows will take place in the lead up to the fourth annual Kellogg’s® Health of the Nation 50-Hour Sports Challenge. More than 6000 children between the ages of nine and thirteen will keep a ball in motion for an uninterrupted 50 hours, to reinforce the physical activity message. The Challenge kicks off in Cape Town on Friday 17 September before heading to Johannesburg to coincide with National Nutrition Week in October.
Bing says the Challenge was originally born as a direct response to the results of the Health of the Nation research findings1, which revealed that South African schoolchildren from all backgrounds across the country, showed a tendency towards the onset of obesity, similar to that seen in developed countries more than a decade ago.
“It was obvious that South Africa faced a serious task in getting the nation to keep active and participate in physical activity to assist in maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” says Bing.
Bing says that the Challenge has grown exponentially and is now a two-fold event with the road shows taking place prior to the Challenge.
Highlighting the importance of physical activity in children’s lives the fun-filled, activity based road shows take place outdoors (weather permitting) on school fields. Pupils are divided into groups and receive instruction on each specific health topic before applying the knowledge practically. Nutritional guidance is facilitated by Kellogg dietitians and thereafter they participate in a question and answer session.
“The prime objective of Sporting Chance is to make sport available to as many children as possible irrespective of race, gender or social class,” says Bing. “Team sports are a great way of teaching children essential skills that can be applied throughout their lives. Sport shows us the beauty of friendship, camaraderie and team spirit and it helps us to deal with the hardships of failure, frustration and disappointment.”
Many accomplished sportsmen have benefited from the Sporting Chance coaching programmes and events. These include Protea cricketers, Herschelle Gibbs and Jacques Kallis; current England international cricketer, Craig Kieswetter, Lions captain, Thami Tsolekile, former rugby Springbok, Neil de Kock; as well as Beijing Olympians, Andrew Cronje and South African hockey captain, Austin Smith and Lloyd Norris Jones. However, creating international sporting stars is not Sporting Chance’s primary aim and all its projects include a life-skills education component, focusing on nutrition, personal goal setting and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle, delivered to the learners in a fun and easy-to-understand manner.
“Health of the Nation is a groundbreaking project that focuses on the importance of physical activity combined with empowering South African children to make healthy lifestyle choices, both on and off the sports field,” says Sarah Mansfield, corporate spokesperson for the Kellogg Company of South Africa.
“Physical activity and sport play a positive role in a child’s life. Whether at a social or competitive level, it is fundamental in the development of their personality, co-ordination and social development. As a brand, Kellogg understands the importance of creating awareness and supports the work being done by Sporting Chance in encouraging self improvement.”
The Kellogg’s® Health of the Nation 50-Hour Sports Challenge is supported by the national Department of Health, the Department of Sport and Recreation, Education and Social Development and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa.
Schools or individuals wishing to participate in the Kellogg’s® Health of the Nation 50-hour Sports Challenge can contact Natalie at Sporting Chance on 021 683 7299 or log onto www.sportingchance.co.za