- United Leicester aims at tackling Type 2 Diabetes in Year 3 children and creating healthier lifestyles for Leicester families
- Five of Leicester’s elite sporting clubs; Leicester City, Leicester Riders, Leicester Tigers, Leicestershire County Cricket Club, and Leicester Hockey Club deliver the programme
- Foxes legend Steve Walsh joined in with the activities, including football, cricket, hockey, basketball and rugby
- The programme supports Active Leicester’s aim of getting 20,000 people active through the diabetes pledge
Five of the city’s elite sporting clubs; Leicester City, Leicester Riders, Leicester Tigers, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Leicester Hockey joined together once more to get children active in sport activities and highlight the positive benefit of a healthy lifestyle.
Funded by the Premier League Community and Professional Footballers Association Fund, United Leicester aims to improve children’s health and lifestyle using sport, by delivering a 30-week programme, which involves coaching from four community charities involved in the project.
The first United Leicester cohort took place at Hazel Community and Taylor Road Primary School in the heart of the city, with Year 3 pupils taking part in a series of sporting and classroom sessions to reduce Type 2 Diabetes.
The current group of participants got together for a carousel event on Leicester City Tigers' Welford Road Stadium pitch with activities such as rugby, football, basketball, hockey and cricket to conclude the 30-week programme, with an appearance from former Leicester City captain Steve Walsh.
The celebratory United Leicester programme event included a visit from Foxes legend Steve Walsh.
Vicki Johnson, Research and Education Associate at Leicester Diabetes Centre, a United Leicester research partner, commented on United Leicester’s positive impact upon its participants when it comes to encouraging a healthy lifestyle.
“The United Leicester programme is really good at tackling Type 2 Diabetes from different angles,” said Vicki. “By having this United Leicester project, it is helping schoolchildren by starting them young and getting them interested in physical activity.
“When we have been into the schools to look at the classroom elements, you can see that the children are really interested and excited about it.”
Children in Leicester have higher-than-average national rate of Type 2 Diabetes, inactivity and childhood obesity.
Working in partnership with all the sports clubs has been a real success and we are looking forward to working closely over the next two years.Matt Bray Leicester City in the Community's Health & Wellbeing Manager
Sam Pearson, a class teacher at Taylor Road School, has been delighted with the way United Leicester works, discussing what the children have been taking part in during the lengthy programme.
“It has been really good with the different clubs coming together,” Sam stated. “So the children haven’t just had aspects of one sport, they have got an idea of lots of different sports in PE. The after school and lunch time clubs has given the children extra time doing physical activity.
“Children have worked also on their food choices in class, which has given them an idea about food choices at home – they have been asked to keep food diaries – giving them back to their parents to include that home aspect as well.”
The project supports Leicester City Council’s aim of getting 20,000 people more active via Active Leicester and Cities Changing Diabetes's long-term goal of reducing levels of urban Type 2 Diabetes.
Club mascot Filbert Fox was also on hand to get involved with the sporting activities at Leicester Tigers’ home of Welford Road.
Matt Bray, Leicester City in the Community’s Health and Wellbeing Manager, believes the United Leicester programme will help Leicester City Council to achieve this target.
He commented: “The project has used coaches from each club to inspire the next generation of pupils, as well as providing workshops for parents and guardians to increase their awareness of the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle and the consequences of inactivity."
“Working in partnership with all the sports clubs has been a real success and we are looking forward to working closely over the next two years to deliver adult-based interventions to support mental wellbeing and provide further opportunities.“
The elite sports clubs have already committed to signing a city-wide ‘diabetes pledge’ and will support the Leicester City Council health agenda, supported by Leicester Changing Diabetes, as part of the Cities Changing Diabetes global initiative.
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