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COMMUNITY: O's host ‘Change4Life’ event for local schools

3 February 2017

Last week Leyton Orient played host to a ‘Change4Life’ Health and Wellbeing Day at the Matchroom Stadium as children from local schools were educated on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

The event run in partnership with the Waltham Forest public health team, Waltham Forest council and NELFT, welcomed 175 children from six different primary schools across Waltham Forest to take part in a range of activities on the day including healthy lifestyle sessions, physical activity sessions and food growing. The schools involved were Ainslie Wood, Newport, Dawlish, St Mary’s, Barn Croft and South Grove.

On arrival, the children took their seats in the West Stand for a welcome talk from Councillor Khan, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing in the borough. They were clearly excited by their surroundings for the afternoon, quite different from the typical classroom environment, and keen to see what activities were in store.

One of the activities, led by NELFT dieticians, took the form of a discussion with the children as to what they consider to be a healthy diet. They spoke about the importance of breakfast to start the day, and the dangers associated with junk food and excessive sugar intake.

Another activity on offer delivered by Organic Lea focused on food growing. Children were given tips on how to grow their own food and taught about areas of the Earth where food can and can’t be grown. They were invited to ‘get their hands dirty’ with clay, compost, and seeds which when finished could be taken home to grow.

Over at the Score Centre, the children got involved in an active learning session. Sports equipment was used to represent healthy and unhealthy foods with each team needing to capture the healthy foods before their opponents and trying to avoid the unhealthy ones!

To cap off a very successful day, Leyton Orient players Nicky Hunt and Sammy Moore made an appearance in the Gallery. They participated in a Q&A session with the children, who asked about the players’ diets and typical matchday meal routines, before answering questions about their own experiences on the pitch. They then spent time signing autographs and participating in class photos for the children and schools to keep as a souvenir of their day trip.

Phillip Smith, Head of Health and Well Being at the Leyton Orient Trust said: “The main aim of the day was to help pupils improve their knowledge and understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle through the #BeFoodSmart Change4Life campaign. It was great to work alongside the council and public health teams to deliver such a large event that engaged so many children. I’d also like to thank Organic Lea and NELFT for their delivery on the day too. 

"Good nutrition and keeping physically activity are key elements of living a healthy lifestyle and being able to promote these in the settings of the football stadium; we hope made the day even more memorable for the pupils. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and hopefully the children have all learnt something new from their experience at Leyton Orient, to take home a better knowledge of how to help them and their families lead a healthy, balanced lifestyle.”

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