Healthier Future Is Simply Child's Play; EDUCATION NOTEBOOK

By Grylls, James | Daily Mail (London), June 4, 2002 | Go to article overview

Healthier Future Is Simply Child's Play; EDUCATION NOTEBOOK


Grylls, James, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: JAMES GRYLLS

CHILD obesity is spreading at an alarming rate, with recent reports warning that one in ten children under the age of four is far too fat.

The link between obesity and illness is well known, and doctors fear that the overweight infants of today could become the major health crisis of tomorrow.

But at the Gym Joey project in Linwood, Renfrewshire, children aged between one and five years old are learning to play their way to fitness.

Gym Joey aims to get youngsters interested in sport and games as early as possible in the hope that keeping active will develop into a lifelong habit - and stop them growing up to become couch potatoes.

Jaq Tennant, who runs the project, said: 'Children of today often do not know how to play, perhaps because both parents are working or because the youngsters are introduced to television and computers at a very early age.

'Here we aim to have pre-five children to develop their motor skills through a structured play environment. This means teaching them jumping, landing, rolling and balance and suchlike.

'It is a great thing for them to be able to be active at such a young age and it keeps them healthy as well as instilling a positive attitude towards sport and activity.

'We hope that from the age of 12 months right through to their adult life they will look upon a sports centre as being a place of fun to go and sport will be something fun to do rather than be avoided by handing a teacher a sick note.' More than 250 youngsters attend the gym every week along with their parents, who pay [pound]3 for a 45-minute session.

Miss Tennant said: 'Children today don't get enough chance to interact with each other.

'Here, from the age of about three, they go from playing alongside each other to playing together. …

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