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Cycling is a class way to kick-start kids' fitness

Now with school resuming shortly it's time for parents to get organised. Not only with their books and uniforms but by making the year ahead a junk-free lunch box year. Instead of giving children a wide variety of junk food, go for a healthier option.

Brown bread, fruit, freshly squeezed juice and yoghurt to name a few. With obesity levels on a serious upward curve it's time for the parents to start looking at the labels for the sugar content. And make a definite commitment to doing all they can to help avoid their children becoming overweight.

Also schools have to take some responsibility in what they are serving. It's mostly cheap junk food on the menu with burgers, sausages and chips being the norm. It's the education of food that will bring about change.

This includes parents being more aware as a family of what they're eating. The only real way of making change is for all the family to improve on their eating habits together.

PROBLEM

One big problem with parents can actually be getting their children involved in too many activities. Many parents run their children's activities like a military campaign; 4pm horse riding, 5pm music, 6pm dance, 7 pm football. What happened to play and just being children?

Over the weekend I met a nine-year-old boy who had been harassed in school about his weight. They nicknamed him "chubby" which caused him many sleepless nights.

He started watching Operation Transformation and how it changed people's lives. He watched people being trained by my son Karl through running, cycling, surfing and swimming -basically like a boot camp.

So he decided to develop his own version. Running on the beach, swimming, cycling to and from school plus changing his food from sugary snacks to healthy options. With the help of his family he has lost two stone. A huge transformation in less then nine months.

He has joined the local GAA team and is playing hurling. His confidence level in school has improved; he's more outgoing and getting better results in his exams.

Often children need a hero, someone they admire. In this case it was Karl. Having seen him complete full marathon, Iron Man and cycle events gave him the kick-start he needed.


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