Premiership Rugby had a hugely positive year in 2015 both on and off the field, but the results are in and the ground breaking community programme Something to Chew On has undoubtedly been one of the biggest successes of all.
Something to Chew On is funded by Public Health England and delivers an exciting and effective approach across the top 20 per cent of the most deprived schools using the power of Premiership Rugby’s 12 clubs to tackle the obesity epidemic across England.
More than 207 schools have been targeted this year – educating more than 10,500 seven and eight year old children about healthy eating, resulting in a positive impact on children’s food choices and making them more active.
The programme uses rugby to encourage children to become more active and to eat more healthily through tag rugby and classroom-based exercises.
With 91 per cent of parents saying their child’s enjoyment of PE has increased after the programme and 94 per cent of children playing more sport, the results are undeniable.
Public Health England’s Dr Louis Levy, Head of Nutrition Science Diet & Obesity spoke of the programme’s importance.
“PHE is pleased to see the continuing success of Something to Chew On. Given that over a third of 11 year olds are overweight or obese, the Something to Chew On programme could not be more important. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults who have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Educating children about the importance of a healthy balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being regularly active will help them into good habits that set them up for life.”
Bath Rugby Foundation’s Joe Aygul – one of the community coaches delivering Something to Chew On – has seen first-hand the impact the scheme is having.
“The reaction to the programme from the primary schools and the kids involved has been great,” said Aygul.
“It has been so popular that schools are asking us to go back and do the programme to the next wave of children coming through.
“The feedback from the children themselves and their parents has also been great. The feedback we’ve had is that children are more aware what foods are good for them and what foods are bad for them having gone through the programme. That’s what it’s all about.”
In addition to the one-hour classroom session, the programme also uses one hour of rugby, fitness and body movement on the field to motivate children to be active – with up to 461 participating teachers trained in tag rugby delivery across 388 schools, to create a legacy.
Sam Phillips, who teaches at the Mead Community Primary School in Trowbridge where Bath Rugby have delivered the scheme, is adamant it has made a tangible difference.
“It has been a huge success that has had nothing but compliments from staff, parents and children,” explained Phillips.
“The kids loved it and were disappointed when the classes finished, they looked forward to the next one and the feedback was all positive.
“I really cannot say enough positive things about it – the team that came in were professional, well prepared and made it all so easy.”
For more information about Something to Chew On, including how to get involved, please visit www.premiershiprugby.com/somethingtochewon