We enjoyed attending Parliament yesterday. However, it was not the usual kind of meeting! Originally set up to test MPs knowledge of healthy eating, hydration and physical activity against primary school pupils in the House of Common. However, MPs not wishing to be outdone by their juniors, decided instead to head each of the primary school teams.
MPs including Steve Pound, Carol Monaghan and Rupa Huq joined teams from Berrymede Junior School, Horsenden Primary and Montpelier Primary in the quiz, which was chaired by former Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton. The quiz was based on the Eat Like A Champ programme, a Change4Life partner scheme designed to promote healthy diet and exercise amongst primary schools pupils aged nine and 10 years. Ms Skelton has previously completed the Namibia ultra-marathon, kayaked the length of the Amazon, and to the South Pole.
The quiz was part of the JanUary campaign, which is led by the National Obesity Forum to encourage healthy choices amongst the public and tackle a growing obesity crisis. Participants faced six rounds of lively questions with each team of school pupils also asked to deliver a presentation on why healthy living is important.
The quiz was won by Montpelier Primary on a tie-break round.
The competitive nature of both MPs and pupils soon came to the fore with speed-lightning pressing of their buzzers before Helen Skelton had a chance to finish the questions. Disputing amongst teams also ensued forcing Helen Skelton to make some hard marking decisions. Questions focused predominantly on the food groups from the Eatwell Plate. The most enchanting part of the day, came when representatives from each school braved the audience to present their prepared speeches on the importance of exercise and physical activity. The pupils’ motivation, enthusiasm and level of knowledge was a true inspiration to all.
The Eat Like A Champ programme is run by Danone and was developed in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation.
Professor David Haslam, Chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said:
“Of course this a bit of fun, but it’s making a very important point. Namely that we need to ensure our children are introduced to good nutrition and hydration habits at a young age. We know from the National Child Measurement Programme that the number of overweight and obese young people remains high, and that this is a particular problem in deprived areas. Many children are sedentary and consume large quantities of poor quality foods high in salt, sugar and trans-fats.
“This must be addressed if we’re to avoid storing up problems for the future, and condemning children to poor health outcomes. Initiatives like Eat Like A Champ are absolutely vital in teaching good habits at a young age.”
Adam Grant, Managing Director of Danone Ltd, said:
“We are extremely proud of Eat Like A Champ, which since 2010 has inspired 100,000 children across the country to adopt the healthy choices of champions they admire. Independent research has shown Eat Like A Champ has a positive impact, and we are delighted to be working with partners such as the National Obesity Forum and the Mayor of London’s Healthy Schools initiative to encourage even more schools to take part.”
The National Obesity Forum and supporters of JanUary are encouraging the pubic to commit to healthy New Year’s Resolutions throughout the campaign (11-17 January).