Palace Doctor Teams Up With Primary School
Dr Zaf Iqbal, Head of Medical at Crystal Palace FC is teaming up with Palace for Life Foundation coaches to deliver teacher training in a drive to increase awareness and promote physical activity and healthy eating amongst primary school children in years 5 and 6.
To celebrate a successful pilot of the ‘Get Up, Get Moving’ programme, Dr Zaf together with Jason Puncheon and Wilfred Zaha delivered a healthy lifestyles presentation to pupils at Oasis Ryelands primary school in Croydon.
Highlighting the consequences of inactivity and poor lifestyles Dr Zaf said:
“The main aim of the programme is to use the presence of sporting role models to deliver the important messages of leading a healthy, active lifestyle. We hope local schools will now contact the Foundation to get involved next season.”
With all participating children creating a healthy living poster, Puncheon and Zaha were on hand to judge their favourite posters and chose six winners who received a Palace for Life t-shirt and a trip to the training ground to see the players in action and learn about how the medical department of the club is run.
Raised in Croydon, Puncheon has been a keen supporter of the Foundation’s primary school programmes and acknowledges the significance of a healthy lifestyle. He said:
“Since Zaf has come in he’s encouraged us to eat the right things, and it’s really important, especially for these young children, that they do the same.”
The programme in schools involves five lessons, each delivered ‘one hour a day’ – which is how much physical activity children should be doing per day. Teachers are provided with all the relevant materials to deliver the programme and are supported with key messages from Dr Zaf.
With a successful pilot scheme, the Palace for Life Foundation aims to role the programme out in primary schools across south London.
Obesity is a major health concern for the population of the UK, with the latest Health Survey for England data showing nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Obesity is associated with serious chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, disability and premature death. The causes for Obesity are multifactorial with major contributing factors including physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet.
The recommended daily amount of physical activity for adults is 30 minutes on five or more days of the week and for children it’s one hour a day. Physical activity levels are low in the UK with recent figures suggesting that in children between the ages of 5-15, less than a 1/3rd are meeting the recommendations for physical activity for children and the level of inactivity is increasing.