As part of the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ programme, specially trained coaches from City Football Schools, along with Healthpoint physicians, will visit schools throughout Abu Dhabi to give fun and interactive lessons on working out regularly, making the right food choices, getting enough sleep and staying hydrated, just like their favourite footballers.
Organised by Manchester City FC and Healthpoint, Manchester City FC’s regional healthcare partner and part of Mubadala’s healthcare network, the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ programme will visit 15 schools, meeting around1,000 youngsters over the next five months.
Designed to give students all the information they need to improve their diet and fitness habits at home, at school and as they grow up, coaches from City Football Schools will work alongside teachers to lead the youngsters through a series of fun, creative and educational classes as well as activities, including playing football and other games.
With adult and childhood obesity recognized as a major problem worldwide, the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’programme is aligned with government initiatives to improve people’s health.
According to the latest data from the World Obesity Federation, the United Arab Emirates will have a staggering 15% of its young people under the age of 20 considered obese by 2025. The World Health Organisation expects this to include 448,000 school aged children.
To encourage children to lead an active lifestyle, the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ programme is supported by the students’ favourite Manchester City Football Club players, including the captains of the men’s and women’s teams, Vincent Kompany and Steph Houghton.
“It’s very important as a footballer to eat healthily and fuel the body for every game,” said Vincent Kompany, MCFC defender and Club Captain. “Living an active lifestyle, along with eating well, prepares your body both physically and mentally.
“Regular physical activity is an important part of the equation for getting healthy and then staying healthy. Fuelling yourself on the right foods is the second part of that equation.”
Steph Houghton, defender and Club Captain of the MCFC women’s team, said: “Living an active life and staying fit and healthy is key to ensuring my performance stays at a high level. I always look after myself, including my mental well-being and ensure I sleep well every night.”
Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber, Acting Medical Director and Head of Public Health at Healthpoint, said “Having MCFC’s stars on board with the health and fitness initiative is extremely important.
“What makes this programme unique and fun to children is that the footballers from Manchester City Football Club share their personal experiences and their daily lifestyle. We hope that children are motivated by following one of their football stars.
“The programme has different aspects - diet, exercise, sleep and mental well-being. By having a focus on each of those and delivering information in a way that children can absorb easily it can help to address childhood obesity.”
As well as taking part in fun and engaging activities, an official ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ booklet will encourage students to keep a sleep and food diary, set challenges to help them be more active, give tips on preparing healthy meals and snacks, and even ask them to write a letter to their ‘future self’ with a pledge to lead a healthier lifestyle.
“The interactive element of the programme is important and ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ is intended to provide students with the knowledge and challenge them to achieve things they may not normally do,” added Dr Mai Ahmed Al Jaber.