RUGBY stars teamed up with a fat-fighting Rotherham clinic to help kick obesity into touch.
The new TitansRIO programme — dreamed up by Rotherham Institute for Obesity and Rotherham Titans — aims to ensure children learn about health eating and the importance of exercise.
It was launched with Treeton School as part of National Obesity Week.
Treeton teacher Rebecca Allen said: “This was a great launch to our Healthy Me Topic in school.
“The players have really inspired our young people to eat more healthily and do more exercise and to do so in a fun way that makes them feel better about themselves.”
Figures show a fifth of children are overweight or obese when starting primary school in Rotherham and a third — a total of 1,030 children — when they go on to secondary school.
This obesity rate doubles in deprived areas and the gap is still growing.
Dr Matt Capehorm, head of RIO and clinical lead on the National Obesity Forum, said:
“Obesity costs the UK £47 billion per year. It also ruins lives as it is a leading cause of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
“We are delighted to work in partnership with Titans to address the biggest issue that faces Rotherham today.”
Titans Community Foundation chairman Nick Cragg said: “Our foundation has always been proactive in schools using sport as a way of engaging vulnerable and challenging young people.
“With the TitansRIO Programme we have, we have a unique new way of helping all young people meet the biggest challenge that faces our children and our community today.”
The TitansRIO programme includes modules on body image, diet, nutrition and exercise, drawing on the Titans’ fitness skills and RIO’s nutrition expertise.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) this week attacked advertising of junk food on TV during the evening “prime time” period — which it said more children were watching — and called for a ban on all high-sugar and high-fat products such as chocolate, pizza and crisps before 9pm.
The charity also said research had found one in eight people in the Yorkshire and the Humber region admitted to doing no regular physical activity over the last ten years.
A survey revealed 14 per cent had not taken part in regular exercise during this period and were not keen to get active.
Around a fifth said they never exercised and more than half think an hour of exercise a week is enough — well below the recommended level of two-and-a-half hours.
The BHF wants people to get more active during 2016 by signing up to one of its events.
Visit bhf.org.uk/events for more information.