Diabetes UK Northern Ireland is organising a fundraising PE Day for schools in a bid to tackle the rising levels of obesity among children.
The health charity is also hoping to raise awareness of diabetes among the young participants.
According to the Northern Ireland Executive, around 22% of primary school children in the province are overweight and obese. This is a major concern because of the link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK Northern Ireland has teamed up with Tesco to launch PE Day for Diabetes, which will take place Friday, January 30. The initiative will see pupils in both primary and secondary schools taking part in a sponsored PE activity to encourage them to become more active.
They can also enter a poster competition where they will have to design a poster with a healthy living theme, indicating the link with diabetes. There will be prizes for the best poster and also for the highest fundraiser from each participating school.
Supporting the initiative is Linfield footballer Glenn Ferguson.
He said: “Diabetes is a serious life-long condition which can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, blindness, stroke, amputations and depression.
“Hopefully educational initiatives like this will slowly change the sedentary culture we have, ensure our young people become healthier and can lead longer lives.”
Diabetes UK is also working with gyms on a Day for Diabetes on Saturday, January 31, with participants paying £1 towards diabetes as part of their gym activity that day.
They will then automatically be entered into a draw to win one month’s free gym membership for a friend or relative which will hopefully encourage more people to make exercise a part of their daily lives.
Jennifer McGivern, fundraising manager for Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said: “We need to work at encouraging healthy lifestyles to prevent Type 2 diabetes, particularly among children. The Day for Diabetes will help to raise awareness of the condition, encourage healthy lifestyles and raise vital funds for those affected by diabetes.”
\[Chris Cairns\]Diabetes UK is the charity for people with diabetes, funding more than £7m of medical research every year and providing information and support to the 62,000 people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland.
l</> Schools or gyms interested in joining the initiative can contact Jennifer McGivern on 028 9066 6646 or email Jennifer.McGivern@diabetes.org.uk.