We use ‘Let’s Play initiative’ to fight childhood obesity — Awogu
The General Manger, Supersport, Felix Awogu says MultiChoice’s Let’s Play initiative is channeled towards fighting obesity, which he said has become a serious concern to the world due to the volume of death resulting from it. The Let’s Play Initiative is a programme under MulktiChoice Corporate Social Investment policy.
According to the World Health Organisation, world obesity has tripled since 1975 and as at 2016, over 340 million children and adolescents between ages 5-19 are overweight and obese.
Experts have blamed the high rate of obesity in children on junk food, modern technology and the lack of exercise or bodily movement.
“Children today have become so attached to computer games and the internet and have neglected the good old-fashioned way of playing football and running around in the parks as well as on the field,” Awogu said during the week. “A survey on television penetration and the availability of cable TV shows that more people, especially children would rather plant themselves in front of the TV or computer all day than go out to play with their peers. Even communication has been limited to chats and text messages via mobile devices and computers. It is not strange to see a group of friends, who are supposed to be engaging each other in conversation, completely fixated to their mobile phones, each in his own world and barely saying a word to each other. Excessive addiction to computers and sitting in one position for long has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, bad eyesight, breathing problems such as asthma, joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort and even early death in children. It is a major cause of bad social skills and a breakdown of communication between children and their parents.”
According to Awogu, the wellbeing of a nation is dependent on the health of its citizens.
“A healthy nation is a wealthy nation and all efforts must be put in place to fight obesity; the new scourge that is silently killing adults and children alike. Some parents have attributed their reluctance to allow their wards to go out and play to security concerns and the high-level of distrust in the society. Regardless of these concerns, body movement and exercises are very important to the proper development and wellbeing of the child.
“This is the motivation behind MultiChoice’s Let’s Play initiative. One of the major objectives of the initiative is to encourage children to come out, run around and play with other children. In this way, the children will have fun exercising and playing with one another.
According to him, the company uses the Let’s Play Initiative to drive its philosophy, which is football, to reach out to children and encourage healthy living among them. “If you look at the current situation in Nigeria, a lot of children are becoming obese and suffering from diseases typical to adults. So, our strategy is to give children soccer balls and get them to engage and play with other children in a soccer game, thereby reaching out to even more children. To date, the Let’s Play initiative has given out over 10,000 soccer balls and have reached out to over two million children in Nigeria,” Awogu said.
The Let’s Play initiative has been endorsed by football legends like ex-Super Eagles player, Victor Ikpeba, who also doubles as the ambassador for the initiative. Ikpeba among other sport enthusiasts has motivated so many children in a number of communities where the children have been trained in various sporting activities as well as football.
This initiative has been activated in a number of communities in Edo, Kwara, Ogun, Anambra and Lagos states, with endorsements from the states’ governors.
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