PRESS RELEASE: Getting festive, getting active – the five million steps A-Star Sports Christmas challenge!
Local children in Chester, Wirral, Wrexham and Edinburgh are on their marks for a really healthy and happy Christmas this year thanks to an ambitiously active campaign from the award-winning sports coaching business A-Star Sports.
This year, instead of handing out Christmas cards, local A-Star Sports teams are giving children who attend regular classes a pedometer. Children will join their local coaches in stepping out for some Christmas fun during the holiday period. As one big A-Star Sports team, they aim to make it past FIVE MILLION steps.
The idea is that local children who already join enthusiastically in regular weekly classes can now take the same passion for being active into the Christmas and New Year holidays.
And as a special treat, youngsters will also have the chance to win places at A-Star Sports’ ever popular holiday clubs (local terms and conditions apply), where sport is double the fun. Sharon Bassett, co-founder and director of A-Star Sports, explains: “Although every child has the chance to contribute to the five million steps challenge, we thought it would add a little extra for the coaches to participate, too. The children who record the closest number of steps to the coaches taking part will each win a prize of one full session, or its equivalent, at one of our holiday clubs next year. The best example that we can give to the many children that attend our classes is that grown-ups can join in and have a lot of fun being active, too!”
In their ‘Help stop childhood obesity before it starts’ publication (1), the NHS states that ‘if we carry on as we are, 90% of today’s children could be overweight or obese by 2050’ and likely to face a financial cost to the NHS and the wider economy of £50 billion by the same time. As a result, and following evidence from the Government Office for Science’s Foresight Report, the government is tackling five key areas, including ‘Children: healthy growth and healthy weight’ and ‘Building physical activity into our lives’.
Similarly in the ‘Growing Up in Scotland Study’ (2), new findings show that amongst six year old children in Scotland 31% have high screen time on a typical weekday (defined as three hours or more of TV / computer time), 9% are obese and 22% are overweight (including obese). The Physical Activity & Health Alliance (PAHA) has also developed resources to support a diverse range of practitioners – including sports coaches – to introduce health behaviour change, such as ‘Raising the issue of physical activity’ and ‘Raising the issue of Child Healthy Weight’ (3).
Working with children within the targeted 0-11 years range, A-Star Sports is in a
prime position to help children to develop good life habits that will significantly improve their health into adulthood. Whilst the average person walks between 3,000 to 4,000 steps every day, an adult weighing 70kg (about 11 stone) can actually burn about 440 calories by walking 10,000 steps briskly (4) and making it fun from the start sends the important message that festive fun can also mean getting active fun.
A-Star Sports offers multi-sports coaching for children from two years old to 10, teaching them to play individually, in games with a partner or in teams. From the fundamentals through to ten core sports (basketball, cricket, dodgeball, football, handball, hockey, rounders, rugby, tennis and volleyball), children learn in a positive environment with highly motivated coaches.
2. The Growing Up in Scotland Study, Update 7 (2012) – http://www.growingupinscotland.org.uk