1st February 2010

Athlete role models give kids food for thought

Quality Meat Scotland is continuing its support of the Champions in Schools programme aimed at inspiring, educating and motivating school-age children.

Healthy eating is a key component of the initiative which involves 24 Scottish role models from the world of sport including Scottish rugby internationalist, Chris Paterson, double Olympic sailing gold medallist, Shirley Robertson, and former Celtic FC and Scotland football star, John Collins.

The athletes are delivering face-to-face workshops with fun-filled physical activity in West Lothian, Perth and Kinross and the Borders as part of the programme (CiS), developed by Winning Scotland Foundation, a business-led charity with a vision to encourage more Scots to adopt a positive winning attitude in sport and life.

Supported by Scotch Beef (Quality Meat Scotland), the second year of the pilot programme comes at a time when research shows physical activity among youths, especially secondary school-aged girls, continues to fall.

Over three separate visits, each athlete will build a rapport with a targeted group of 20-30 children, discussing the importance of goal-setting, nutrition and physical activity in everyday life and sharing a belief that the adoption of a positive, winning attitude, offers long-term benefits on and off the sports field.

Commenting on his involvement, Chris Paterson, the world’s top kicker in rugby union, said: “I’m really passionate about kids being active and having fun. I had so many good times playing sport throughout my school days, which I’ve been lucky enough to carry into my adult life. Through Champions in Schools, maybe more kids can do the same.”

Through the workshop-style delivery of Champions in Schools, the Foundation is also fulfilling three of the four key elements of the national educational programme, the Curriculum for Excellence, namely creating successful learners, developing confidence and encouraging young people to be effective contributors.

Carol McLaren, Quality Meat Scotland’s Head of communications, added: “We are pleased to continue our support of the Champions in Schools programme to inspire young people to eat a healthy, balanced diet and motivate them to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

“QMS is a long-time supporter of healthy lifestyle initiatives in Scotland – in schools this includes our free healthy cooking workshops and a Red Meat Voucher Scheme for schools. Our range of publications includes Performance +, the acclaimed sports nutrition guide.”

Susan Jackson, Senior Director of Winning Scotland Foundation and a 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, commented: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the three local authorities and Quality Meat Scotland on this programme.

“It isn’t every day that school children get the opportunity to meet their heroes. And these role-models can have an incredible influence upon young people, profound and long-lasting, because pupils can see the direct benefits of a life dedicated to achievement, good health and positive thinking. The champions’ visits grant us with a rare and precious opportunity to inspire and positively advise young people on how they should live their lives.

Jackson added: “It will be a tremendous outcome for the athletes, pupils, schools and indeed the nation if as a consequence of Champions in Schools, more young Scots choose to get active and are inspired to adopt a positive ‘can do’ attitude in sport and life.”

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