The Irish Heart Foundation, Ireland’s national heart and stroke charity, and Lidl, are launching the second year of the Lidl Fit Factor for 3rd and 4th class pupils in primary schools across Ireland…

The aim of this initiative is to educate children about the benefits of leading a healthy and active lifestyle.

The fun, yet educational programme, which is now in its second year, has been developed in accordance with the Social, Personal & Health Education (SPHE) curriculum. The 2-week programme is easy for teachers to integrate into their everyday teachings.

Participating schools are in with a chance to win sports equipment vouchers from a total prize fund of €;15,000 worth of sports equipment vouchers. Firstly, 5 regional winners will be crowned and will win €;1,000 in vouchers. All 5 regional winners will go forward for the grand final where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed schools have a chance to win an additional €;5,000, €;3,000 and €;2,000 worth of vouchers respectively.

To aid the judging process a panel of sporting stars from Ireland has been put together including Leinster and Ireland rugby player Kevin McLaughlin, All Ireland winning Tipperary hurler Lar Corbett and RTE2 children’s’ TV presenter Sinead Kennedy.

Speaking about the launch of the Lidl Fit Factor Kevin McLaughlin says; “I am delighted to be involved with this programme for schools. The programme is a great way for kids to learn about the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity in a fun and engaging manner. I hope the pupils benefit from the teachings and I look forward to seeing all the projects next year.”

Children on average eat only a half serving of vegetables per day which is significantly less than the recommended target of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Due to the age of the target audience, the Lidl Fit Factor focuses on encouraging a healthy lifestyle that will lead to heart health.

Some startling facts from the Irish National Children’s Food Survey, which took place in 2005 show that in total about 22% of 5-12 year olds are overweight or obese. One-fifth of Irish children’s intake comes from sweets, snacks and biscuits – a very high and unhealthy proportion!

Speaking about the launch of the Lidl Fit Factor Maureen Mulvihill, Health Promotion manager from the Irish Heart Foundation says: “The Lidl Fit Factor is an exciting initiative which encourages healthy eating and physical activity in young children. The programme aims to promote positive habits that will increase the heart health of children across Ireland. Prevention is important for all ages in reducing risk factors for heart disease and stroke, and the earlier we can encourage healthy lifestyles, the better.”

For more details on the Lidl Fit Factor please visit www.fitfactor.ie