Nino Severino: We all need to work together to save children's lives
PUBLISHED: 11:18 11 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:18 11 July 2018
In his latest column, Nino Severino returns to a topic very close to his heart - the health of the nation's children and his fears for the ticking time bomb of unhealthy lifestyles.
I’m particularly proud of this national programme, as it was developed and piloted through our local primary schools here in Ipswich.
With my team, I have travelled the length and breadth of the country, doing my bit to educate, inspire and motivate young children to live healthily, learn about good nutritional choices, enjoy fitness and join a sport.
The Celebration of Sport event has been presented in partnership with the global company ISS, who have a national network of offices in the UK, playing a major part in providing nutritional meals for businesses, hospitals and schools.
I won’t bore you with the statistics, as I am sure most of you would have read them before, and I have spoken of the massive problem we have throughout the UK – in one of my previous columns, I referred to a ticking nuclear health bomb in terms of the wellbeing of our nation’s school pupils.
I think it’s safe to say that presently the lifestyle that many children in the UK lead will ultimate mean that at some point in the future, our National Health Service will be choked to death with adults suffering from obesity, cancer, diabetes and heart attacks, to name just a few manifestations of an unhealthy life.
What I am doing on a national level is in no shape way or form going to change this, but, I need to know that I am not just highlighting the facts and then doing nothing and watching it all unfold.
I am joining many others out there who have the same attitude as myself, many trying to do their bit in the face of a problem that is so gargantuan, it could actually bring our country to a grinding halt in the future.
What motivates me is that if the many all do something in solidarity against this massive shadow lurking over the nation of our children and future population, there might just be a chance that the powers who control and run our country will actually realise that time is running out – and if nothing is done, it will have a catastrophic effect on millions of children’s lives.
And there are many individuals, organisations, associations and health and fitness bodies and businesses all delivering positive initiatives, such as our Celebration of Sport programme.
When I visit a school, I really enjoy telling all the children about sport. I use the story of my wife, Elena Baltacha-Severino and I, when we were part of the Olympic Team who competed at the London Olympics in 2012.
On display, I have the torch that Elena ran with during her leg of the Summer Olympics Torch Relay across Great Britain and our bright red Olympic kit bag, full of the items we used during our time in London.
For me, this real story engages the children, helps me explain how sport can change their lives, and it links in really well to talking about the many great sporting stars we have all enjoyed watching and how they were all once children, just like the pupils who are part of the event.
Talking about sporting icons and their lives as children in sport, leads on really nicely to a fantastic high energy component of the event, which is packed full of exercises, balanced with knowledge that will motivate the children to think about sport, health and fitness in a very positive way.
I like to highlight to the youngsters that you do not have to be involved in sport to lead a healthy life – of course, there are many things to enjoy, such as playing on the apparatus in the many lovely parks we have, or the fun they can all have with their families and friends at the indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
All the activities throughout our Celebration of Sport event, is based on education, through fun, so there is a lot of laughter while the pupils are involved in the different components of our time with them.
At the end of the event, I always like to gather the children around for a question and answer session, and this always ends with a very motivated Nino.
Sitting in front of me, I see the future of our nation – we need to respect them, look after them, nurture them, and they, in return, will reward us by leading healthy productive lives as positive members of our communities!