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If you go to the woods today - you'll get fitter.

WHEN it comes to getting fit and staying healthy, Stockton tots are the tops.

For the youngsters enjoyed a real fun-filled summer holiday event that got them up and active and enjoying themselves to the max. The day revolved around a teddy bears' picnic specially organised by Stockton council sports development officer Leanne Oxley.

Aimed at the under fives, the event at Ingleby Barwick's Barley Fields Primary School included a puppet show, face painting and a play bus; the children played parachute and hula hoop games and danced to songs and rhymes.

There was also a free fruit bowl and bottle of water for every participant, reinforcing healthy eating messages.

The Government's Change 4 Life campaign aims to get us all eating better, moving more and living longer - even the smaller members of society.

And events like Leanne's which keep the emphasis firmly on fun but involve lots of activity and healthy eating messages hit all the right buttons.

Change 4 Life says kids should get at least 60 active minutes every day to keep them fit and healthy.

Dancing to your favourite songs, bouncing on a trampoline, riding a bike or simply playing outdoors with your friends all count. "It was great day. I started with a warm up with things like the hokey cokey and heads, shoulders, knees and toes to get them all motivated," smiles Leanne.

"Keeping the emphasis on fun is important. "We did some structured play and then we put a huge pile of toys out for the children to explore and play with, which they thought was really great." Each child brought a teddy with them and smaller teddies were handed out to everyone on the day too.

"Positive outcomes were children taking part in sport and physical activity; eating a healthy balanced lunch - there was a free fruit bowl and bottle of water for every participant," adds Leanne.

"They also received information around healthy eating as well as finding out about other events we deliver."

Reducing obesity levels in the borough, she says is the ultimate aim.

These days, says the campaign, there are so many opportunities to watch TV or play computer games and so much convenience and fast food available - meaning we don't move about as much or eat as well as we used to.

Nine out of 10 kids today could grow up with dangerous amounts of fat in their bodies leading to life-threatening diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The campaign aims to get us all doing something about it - so what are you waiting for? . Thousands of families have already signed up - simply check out www.nhs.uk/change4life for more information. Click on the 'my local area' link and you'll get a list of what services are available close to you.

CAPTION(S):

ACTIVITY DAY: The teddy bears' picnic including hula hoop games FAMILY CYCLE RIDE: getting kids to cycle from an early age and teaching them road safety will equip them with a skill for life
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 10, 2009
Words:503
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