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How school is fighting back against ‘cholesterol corner’ of nearby fast food restaurants

PUBLISHED: 16:42 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:43 26 September 2018

The pupils take part in a daily mile walk at school and will soon be allowed to help choose what sports rol practice in their PE lessons. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

The pupils take part in a daily mile walk at school and will soon be allowed to help choose what sports rol practice in their PE lessons. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

Archant

Ravenswood Community Primary in Ipswich has a new mission this term - getting pupils, parents and teachers to eat and live better.

Even the most strong-willed of us have to resist eating out sometimes.

But children at one Ipswich primary have it tougher than most, with a McDonald’s, Subway, chip shop, Harvesters, Toby Carvery, Frankie and Benny’s and Chiquito restaurant all nearby in an area their school dubs as “cholesterol corner”.

Now though, their teachers are helping pupils not to succumb to temptation with a campaign to get them eating more healthily and exercising more.

Ravenswood Community Primary headteacher Karen Mills took a trip to Australia with other teachers this summer and saw how healthy students down under are.

There is also a Toby's, Haverster's, Frankie and Benny's and Chiquito restaurants on a nearby estate. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDThere is also a Toby's, Haverster's, Frankie and Benny's and Chiquito restaurants on a nearby estate. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

She believes a different approach to diet and exercise could be the answer the school is looking for - so has launched the Get Fit and Healthy campaign, which began on National Fitness Day.

The school already takes part in the Daily Mile and is now encouraging students to get active for an hour every day, whether that is in PE lessons or in sports outside of school.

Teachers start their weekly staff meeting with a 30min walk as well, so everyone is feeling the benefits.

“The children already learn about what they should be eating, but this new campaign will show them how to put this into practise,” Mrs Mills said.

Headteacher Karen Mills was inspired after a holiday with other teachers to Australia showed them how other cultures approach diet and exercise. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDHeadteacher Karen Mills was inspired after a holiday with other teachers to Australia showed them how other cultures approach diet and exercise. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

“We are close to a lot of restaurants and although we are encouraging change, we want to let the children know that it’s okay to eat there.

“This is not meant to scare anyone who eats there - we want them to understand that it is a treat.”

School staff are also teaching students how to make a healthy meal once a week, calling the campaign ‘No Takeaway Tuesday’.

Mrs Mills had planned to offer out free iCards to the pupils at the school for use over the summer, but Ipswich Borough Council gave all children living or studying in Ipswich a card for free.

National Fitness Day is September 26, when Ravenswood will be starting the rest of it's 'Keep Fit and Healthy' campaign. Picture: JAKE FOXFORDNational Fitness Day is September 26, when Ravenswood will be starting the rest of it's 'Keep Fit and Healthy' campaign. Picture: JAKE FOXFORD

The school is extending the offer to its students, giving them all a chance to sign up for an iCard to use until the end of November.

PE teacher Ben Newson said: “We always make a big effort to get the children as active as possible but we’re also encouraging parents to come into the school as part of the National Fitness Day campaign.

“We are lucky that so many of the children at Ravenswood enjoy their PE, but this is about changing their habits and lifestyles.”

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