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Sanitarium: Kiwi ‘Coach Potato” Syndrome

Sanitarium: Kiwi ‘Coach Potato” Syndrome A Major Concern

Recent findings by the Sport, Fitness and Leisure Ministerial Taskforce report into the number of Kiwis who are physically inactive is not new and is of major concern to the health and well-being of the nation.

Sanitarium regional director Jim Richards says Sanitarium has known about the high level of inactivity among New Zealander’s for some time and supports the Ministerial Taskforce aims to get more Kiwis active in sport.

“To improve the health and fitness of our nation Sanitarium recognises and has put programmes in place to educate Kiwis about the importance of combining healthy eating with regular exercise,” Mr Richards says.

“For the past nine years Sanitarium has been committed to getting more kids involved in sport through its Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon Series. And this year we have put infrastructure in place to encourage kids to remain active and involved in sport into and throughout their adult lives.”

For the first time in the events nine-year history the Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon series will be endorsed by the governing body of the sport of triathlon – Triathlon New Zealand. Every participant who enters will automatically receive a junior membership to Triathlon NZ.

“With this association Sanitarium is providing the framework for up and coming young triathletes to be captured and nurtured
through Triathlon NZ to a professional and elite level,’ Mr Richards says.

“Our philosophy with the Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon series is all about getting children involved in an enjoyable sporting environment at a young age and ‘giving it a try’.”

In 2001 Sanitarium has extended its commitment to the health, nutrition and well-being of young New Zealander’s by launching a pilot programme designed to show Kiwi kids and their parents the way to better health through healthy eating and regular exercise.

For the past two months 60 eight to 14 year olds who were inactive or had poor diets have followed a balanced eating plan and taken part in three fun 20-minute training programme involving running, cycling and swimming.

Each child on the Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids pilot programme has been mentored by a current New Zealand triathlete and at the end of the programme will take part in their local Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon for the first time.

Mr Richards says the Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids pilot programme is the first-of-its-kind in New Zealand and is an initiative that could be rolled out under the proposed new Government funded sport body, Active New Zealand.

“We are thrilled to be able to help children to get involved in sport and stay active in a fun way. If the pilot programme is successful, it will provide a great model for others to adopt.”

Top New Zealand Triathlete Hamish Carter says the Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon Series is a great way of getting young people involved in sport.

“The Tryathlon series challenges children physically while emphasising the fun they can have doing sport and is also an great breeding ground for future champion triathletes,” Mr Carter says.

The 2001 Weet-Bix Kiwi Kids Tryathlon events are being held on Sunday February 11 Wellington, on February 18 in Christchurch, on February 25 in Tauranga, on March 4 in Nelson, March 11 in Auckland, on March 18 in Dunedin and March 25 in Taupo.

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