Netball leads way to healthier club

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Health pledge: Charlotte and Tegan from Bonbeach Junior Netball Club. Picture: Gary Sissons

THERE are now 10 times more obese children and teenagers in the world compared to 40 years ago – according to a global study of over 200 countries.

A proactive healthy step has seen Michele Cavanagh, president of Bonbeach YCW Junior Netball Club, and committee members pledge to take a proactive approach to fostering a healthy culture at the junior netball club.

They have recognised that in addition to promoting physical activity, they too have an opportunity to broaden and connect with players to encourage healthy food habits in an attempt to reduce poor lifestyle behaviours and conflicting messages that juniors can face.

The first step in trying to improve the healthy culture at the club was to drop the common ‘lollies at halftime or at the end of a game’ mentality often seen at junior sport. As a replacement, fruit will continue to be offered midway through and at the end of games.

Another initiative which has been altered by the committee was the ‘chocolate drive’ fundraiser that is held annually which will now be replaced with various other fundraising initiatives such as raffles.

Local health coach and ambassador to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and That Sugar Film Maddie Race was invited to the club in late-August to conduct a one-hour educational healthy eating workshop for players in replacement to their normal training session.

“Players were educated on how to read food labels and in particular identifying the amount of sugar in popular kid’s food,” Race said.

“We also did a mindful eating exercise and completed a simple food quiz, where we were able to collect valuable data for the club and individual teams on the current food habits.”

As part of the workshops held by Race, families received a digital copy of her ebook Healthy eating guide, kids playing sport edition to help them understand the impact food choices have on their daily life, mood, performance and recovery.

Race said she is passionate about inspiring mums, dads and kids to get back in the kitchen and cook using real ingredients to create healthy meals.

“Healthy and thriving sporting communities extend past training and game day. As a society, where childhood obesity is at epidemic rates, we need to take a more proactive approach when it comes to food options presented to children,” she said.

“By removing conflicting messages and fostering a positive healthy dialogue to support training and game day as Bonbeach YCW Junior Netball Club is currently undertaking is the positive start that we need.

“We are living on way too much processed, convenient food that line supermarket shelves and often deemed ‘healthy’ because of poor labelling laws and hidden salt and sugar.

“This food is often cheaper and directly marketed to busy families. This food is often seen at weekend sport canteens and needs to change.”

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 25 October 2017

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