Children dance their way to health
TWO sporting heroes are to help
40 schools celebrate winning a top national award for getting
children fitter and healthier. The schools have met stringent
criteria over the last 6 months and have been given the government's
new "National Healthy School" status.
To qualify, they have to meet a number of criteria in personal,
social and health education, healthy eating, physical activity and
emotional health and well-being.
Olympic bronze medal swimmer Stephen Parry and England women's
goalkeeper Rachel Brown will join representatives from the 40
schools who have qualified at the Crowne Plaza. It will
include tai chi performances from pupils at Lister Infants,
cheerleading from youngsters at Dovecot Primary and dancing and
drums from students at Notre Dame Arts College. The schools
will be officially presented with their awards by Councillor Paul
Clein, executive member for children's services and Paula Grey,
Director of Public Health in Liverpool.
Councillor Clein said:- "We have made a huge commitment in our
Children and Young People's plan to improving the fitness and well
being of youngsters. All the evidence we have shows that
physical education combined with healthy eating can lead to an
improvement in mental agility. That is why this project is so
important, as it is vital we change the couch potato culture."
Each school has to ensure each pupil gets 2 hours of structured
exercise per week and involves parents and pupils in developing
menus for school dinners. They also have to take steps to combat
stigma and discrimination such as disability, racism and bullying.
Stephen Tiffany, effectiveness officer for physical education at the
city council, said:- "Schools can only qualify for the award
if they can demonstrate that they are taking major steps towards
improving the health of pupils. The fact that so many already
have demonstrates the success of our commitment to reducing
childhood obesity." It is hoped that up a 3rd of
Liverpool's 200 schools will qualify for Healthy Schools status by
the end of the year.
UK CONSUMERS STILL IN DEBT AT
THE latest survey from Equifax,
the instant online credit information provider, looks into the money
management of its customers. The comprehensive research shows that
it’s not just young people who are struggling with debt, but many of
the older generation still have significant mortgage debts and not
many years to pay it off, coupled with trying to survive on a much
The most startling figures show that 42% of those aged between 61
and 70 still have a mortgage, with 29% saying it is over 2.5 times
their annual salary. With 24% still paying a mortgage of up to
£150,000 the Equifax survey shows that retirement may not be a bed
of roses for some of the UK’s older generation. And for 12% it is
funding their children’s first steps on the property ladder that is
causing the pressure.
“Recently there has been great concern about young people and
debt, but our survey reveals that the older generation also needs
support when it comes to dealing with debt,” explains Neil
Munroe, External Affairs Director of Equifax.
The figures reveal that 21% of 61 to 70 year olds have short-term
debts of over £5,000 and 42% still have a mortgage. 19% have
remortgaged their property in the last year, further extending their
debts, which puts even more pressure on them at a time when they had
probably hoped to be looking forward to a comfortable retirement. Of
those that have remortgaged, 40% did so to get a better deal. This
is, of course, a positive way to manage finances. 20% said they took
this action to release equity for their retirement; 12% did so to
help their children get on the property ladder.
Munroe continues:- “Mortgage debt is at a record high and the
Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) is predicting high levels of
arrears and repossessions with the prospect of interest rates
rising. With so many people in their later years still paying off a
mortgage, our findings are real cause for concern. Indeed, they only
serve to highlight the importance of saving for the future and
encouraging consumers to stay in control of their finances at all
stages of their life."