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WellChild Mini Olympics

Friday 6 May 2005

WellChild Mini Olympics

Hundreds of young Olympians will be taking part in a WellChild Tamariki Ora Mini Olympics next week celebrating colourful eating.

Colourful eating is the theme of this year’s WellChild Week and Tairawhiti District Health WellChild Week Coordinator Jane Wilkie said there was nothing like a fun vibrant colourful event to get children thinking about good health.

“Vegetables and fruit are high in vitamins, antioxidants and hundreds of health protecting compounds. Colourful vegetables and fruit (i.e. green, red, orange, yellow and purple) have the highest content of these protective substances.”

“We thought if we could put on a colourful event like a mini Olympics, with activities centred around healthy eating of colourful food, we might get some of our messages through. Making fruit kebabs and listening to a healthy eating story will be just some of the activities!”

The Mini Olympics is being held at the grounds at Ormond School and over 200 pre-schoolers from neighbouring kohanga reo, and early childhood centres are expected to attend.

A second Mini Olympics will be held on the grounds at Elgin School on Thursday and 110 under-fives are due to take part.

WellChild Tamariki Ora services focus on babies, infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Services include WellChild visits for children up to and including age five, growth and development checks, dental enrolments, health promotion and education for the whole family, and immunisation advice. All the services are aimed at keeping children well, and growing and developing to their fullest potential.

WellChild Tamariki Ora Health Promotion Week happens each year in May to help increase awareness of child health issues.

This year children are being encouraged to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

The most recent national Children’s Nutrition Survey showed that over half of New Zealand children eat less than the recommended two servings of fruit and one third eat less than the recommended three servings of vegetables each day.

Ms Wilkie said vegetables and fruit help reduce the risk of some major lifestyles diseases e.g. cancer and heart disease.

“If children get used to eating vegetables and fruit when they are young, they will be more likely to carry this eating habit through to adulthood. In New Zealand the number of deaths attributed to not eating enough vegetables and fruit is 1559 per year.”

She encouraged parents and caregivers to aim to give their children five servings each day and go for a range of colours including red, orange, green, yellow and purple.

“Fresh, frozen and canned are all good choices.”

ENDS

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