The Happy Hearts Primary School Health Programme is run by Barry McGuigan’s Boxing Academy and funded by the London Legacy Development Corporation.
The programme is designed to teach primary-age children about nutrition and exercise by taking part fun physical activity and games designed to help children to learn about health and develop practical skills for a healthier lifestyle.
The latest figures show that 24 per cent of local year six children are obese compared to a London average of 21.9 per cent.
The launch was attended by members of NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the new clinically led NHS organisation in place to drive health outcomes forward for all of Newham’s residents from 1 April 2013.
Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said:
“Happy Hearts is a great example of how we are getting out into the communities around the Park to encourage people to live healthier, more active lives. We are already finding that at the end of these sessions children are more enthusiastic about doing sport and are making healthier choices at breakfast time because they understand more about the food they are eating.
“The Legacy Corporation is not just responsible for creating Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; it also shares responsibility for developing east London and improving the health and well-being of the people living around the Park. We are on track to deliver both a great visitor destination and a fantastic legacy for east London.”
Dr Zuhair Zarifa, Chairman of NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group said:
“Newham’s young people are our future. Supporting them to learn about healthier food and exercise from a young age is vital. These are habits we hope to build on for a lifetime. So this and future generations don’t have health problems, like heart disease and diabetes, that come with being overweight and not being active.
“NHS Newham CCG is at the heart of health and wellbeing in Newham. We are here to support local people to take ownership of their health. We are doing this in partnership with community organisations to ensure that we leave a legacy of health for the people of Newham.
“The work we are doing with Happy Hearts mirrors what we wish to achieve across Newham through social prescription. Where we support local people by encouraging them to participate in activities in the community that will make them feel better and live longer.”
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is situated in some of the most deprived boroughs in the country. Levels of obesity are higher and life expectancy is lower than London and national averages, as is the amount of physical activity people living closest to the Park do in an average week.
Schemes like the Happy Hearts Primary School Health Programme help to change people’s behavior by providing opportunities to learn through play and to try out new activities.
Happy Hearts is running in four schools in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Newham, Hackney and three schools in Waltham Forest.
The Legacy Corporation is committed to helping people improve their health and well-being and ensuring that those living closest to the Park are at least as healthy and active as the rest of London.
In November the Legacy Corporation published its Sport and Healthy Living Policy which sets out clear targets for working with partners to reduce obesity and inactivity and achieve better health outcomes including increasing life expectancy. The full set of targets and detailed policy document is available online.