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Teacher inspiring change in city's fight against obesity

A teacher who has pledged to do her bit to tackle obesity in Wolverhampton is hoping her efforts will inspire young people to do the same.

Francesca Cunningham, teacher and PE Co-ordinator at Warstones Primary School has pledged to do her bit to tackle obesity in Wolverhampton and is hoping her efforts will inspire young people to do the same
Francesca Cunningham, Warstones Primary School

Francesca Cunningham, teacher and PE Co-ordinator at Warstones Primary School, vowed to make a difference following November's Obesity Summit which saw representatives from organisations across Wolverhampton come together to join the city's fight against obesity.

Those taking part were encouraged to make personal or organisational pledges to help Wolverhampton City Council's Public Health team tackle a "ticking time bomb" facing the city.

Francesca, who represented her school at the summit, pledged to take part in more physical activities and promote healthier lifestyles as part of her contribution to the city's battle against the bulge - and is encouraging others to do the same by making pledges of their own.

She said: "I felt it was important to make a personal pledge to raise awareness of the rising problem of obesity within the city. If you, personally, are not showing any willingness and motivation, why should others?

"I'm trying to inspire, educate and enthuse others to help tackle what is a major problem, not just for our young people today but also older adults and future generations to come.

"Following the summit, I have found myself re-evaluating situations and my daily routine and trying to develop healthier eating habits. I've realised the impact it could have on myself and also on society if we all simply step back due to the pressure of daily life.

"So I'm taking part in more physical activity including the gym, a local zumba class and walking more instead of relying on transport.

"I'm also using my role as a PE co-ordinator to make our young children aware of the importance of staying active. It's important that people who can influence others - like teachers - are able to get others to follow their lead, and so we're educating out pupils through assemblies and setting half termly challenges for them to get more active.

"We've also introduced pedometers for pupils to use so they can add their efforts to the Million Miles for Wolverhampton challenge, and they are really taking pride in celebrating their achievements."

Councillor Sandra Samuels, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "It is heartening to see the commitments that individuals and organisations within the city are making to help tackle the enormous challenge of obesity, from personal pledges to big changes which whole organisations can implement.

"Obesity is a ticking time bomb, and one that we cannot afford to ignore. Each pledge, large and small, will make a huge difference and I'd like to personally thank Francesca and everyone at Warstones Primary School for their support in our fight against obesity.

"Their pledges will also be used to help shape a strategy being developed by Wolverhampton's Director of Public Health Ros Jervis and her team to tackle obesity."

The Obesity Summit, held at Wolverhampton Racecourse in November, saw around 300 health professionals, businesses and community groups come together to join the fight against obesity in Wolverhampton.

To find out more about the Million Miles for Wolverhampton Challenge, which encourages the city to collectively complete a million miles by walking, cycling, swimming, running or rowing, please visit Tackling obesity in Wolverhampton.

  • released: Tuesday 10 March, 2015