Rotorua schools take up health challenge

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Otonga Rd and Kawaha Pt primary schools are among 110 primary schools across New Zealand taking part in the AIA Healthy Kids Challenge.

The five-week health and wellbeing programme is in its second week and aims to inspire children and their families to get active and make healthy eating choices.

The AIA Healthy Kids Challenge combines technology and leading New Zealand athletes to inspire, motivate and educate primary schoolchildren and their parents to lead healthier lives.

The programme is being supported by Black Sticks hockey player Gemma Flynn and All Blacks rugby winger Cory Jane.

As part of the challenge, each child receives a free pedometer to count the number of steps they take every day and can create their own unique avatar.

The programme records the daily average steps of each class, giving them the opportunity to win prizes.

Otonga Rd Primary School Year 3 and 4 teacher Kathy Snodgrass said the children had picked up the competition and were running with it.

"They've found it great, except those who misplace their pedometers but that's a good lesson in self-management," she laughed.

"Everyone has been keen to participate and seem to be more aware of being sedentary throughout the day."

Ms Snodgrass said while the challenge was nationwide, it had sparked many inter-class competitions as well.

"One class beats us every day so there are a few conspiracy theories floating around. The great thing is that the children are moving more and some are getting their parents involved as well so it becomes a family affair."

AIA New Zealand head of marketing and communications, David Savidan, said they wanted to encourage children and their parents to improve their general health and wellness.

The children's journey will be captured in a virtual online world showing the progress of their avatars as they work together to unlock new destinations.

As children complete each leg, they are shown an animated video of their avatar exploring each new place. They learn about the history and culture of the countries they 'visit', and get health tips on the way around.

"Establishing good, healthy habits is easier when the whole family is on board, and it benefits everyone. We invite parents, friends and family to sign up to the challenge to have fun getting fit and support their local school," Mr Savidan said.

Parents, friends and family can use the website or download the challenge app to track their own steps. The more adults each participating class has involved, the more chances the class and school have to win prizes, and there are opportunities for parents who get involved to win prizes too.

Visit www.healthykids.kiwi to register.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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