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Colin Jackson launches initiative to tackle childhood obesity

20th May 2010

Former 110m hurdles world record holder Colin Jackson set out to tackle childhood obesity, with a programme to get schoolchildren more active. The motivational speaker launched the UK wing of the Global Children’s Challenge (GCC), a global walking initiative which aims to see more than 40,000 UK primary school children get more active.

The latest research shows that one in four boys and more than one in five girls in the UK are overweight or obese at the start of their school life and the percentage of obese children in year six is almost double that in reception year.

With one in three children classed as overweight, Wales has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world. Another 35% of boys and 31% of girls in their last year of primary school also have weight problems, equating to almost one in three, according to the Government’s National Child Measurement Programme.

Launching the programme, Colin said: “Kids in the UK face so many obstacles to getting them engaged with their health and wellbeing and the Global Children’s Challenge is a fantastic way to get them to do so.

“It has all the right ingredients to get kids to step-up and get involved – it’s fun, interactive and challenging, so they will not be likely to get bored or distracted. How often do you get to walk around the world in eight weeks?

“On top of that, it’s completely free to schools and the kids themselves as it is being supported by businesses from all over the country.”

The initiative will last eight weeks, starting from September 22 and running until November 10, 2010. The project is being supported by British Gas in Cardiff, which will be providing places for local school children to take part in the challenge free of charge.

Employees at the company have signed up to the Global Corporate Challenge, an annual event which encourages staff to join together and walk themselves to better health. Each employee that signs up to the challenge will earn a place on the scheme for a child in one of the local primary schools in Cardiff.

Children will take part by measuring their step count on a GCC pedometer as part of a web-based virtual walk around the world. The more active a school class, the further they walk around the world.

Tom Sermon, GCC European director said: “Having launched the Global Children’s Challenge in Australia with Cathy Freeman and Herb Elliot, it is fantastic that we can continue to get support from a great British Olympian such as Colin.

“The Global Children’s Challenge is a step in the right direction to help get UK school children back on the track to fitness and wellbeing, encouraging them to get to know and understand their bodies and highlighting the importance of exercise.

“The message is simple; the more companies that get involved, the more children we all can support.”

To get involved visit http://www.gccjunior.com/.

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