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A NEW fun challenge designed to help tackle childhood obesity will raise money for a group that supports islanders with heart problems. The search is on to find about half a dozen children and parents who want to try and lose as much weight as possible in a six week period.
The Kid Biggest Loser 2016 challenge is being staged by professional trainer Ben Boakye of Big Bens Fit Club and will feature youngsters aged 11 to 16 working alongside a parent in order to get fit and lose weight.
The pairs will train together twice each week from early May and will also receive education on nutrition and lifestyle in order to reach their target weights.
All of those taking part will be expected to attend a class workout session on a Saturday morning at Saint Patrick’s Hall near the FB fields and also a midweek evening session that will be specifically tailored to them.
Their efforts will culminate in a special presentation evening on 18 June at the Pomme d’Or Hotel where they will be rewarded for their efforts. Those taking part will be expected to seek sponsorship for reaching their weight loss target and proceeds raised will go to the Jersey Heart Support Group.
Its chairman Phil Volante said that anyone of any age can have a problem with their heart. "This is an excellent initiative because the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to reducing the risk of heart disease,” he said.
Mr Volante said that he was delighted that the Jersey Heart Support Group had been chosen as the beneficiary of the fund raising initiative.
"The group does important work supporting initiatives that assist those with a heart problem and is looking to enhancing its role working alongside health professionals to improve cardiac facilities and treatment for the community in general," he said.
Consultant cardiologist Dr Andrew Mitchell, whose team have been shortlisted in the 2016 British Medical Journal’s awards for heart team of the year, said that three in 1,000 children will have a potentially dangerous heart condition that they are unaware of that can be detected with heart screening.
"Our weight as a teenager has a large impact on our future risk of developing heart disease, so exercise and avoidance of weight gain is crucial before adulthood,” said the consultant cardiologist
Dr Mitchell said that generally two in 100 people will develop heart problems in their lifetime. "About one in 50 will have some valve problems and hypertension is also more common in the inactive and overweight,” he added.
For a number of years, Big Bens Fit Club has run the Biggest Loser competition for adults seeking to lose weight and has raised tens of thousands of pounds for a variety of charities.
Mr Boakye said: "We are doing the adults challenge again this year, which is well underway, but I am looking forward immensely to working with the youngsters and their parents.
"There is a little doubt that childhood obesity is a growing problem and I am hopeful that this challenge may encourage some young people to take some positive action and live a healthier lifestyle.”