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Under-fives to get gym classes

18th March 2009

Liverpool City Council has said it is planning to give free gym memberships to under-fives in Merseyside.

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The plans will see baby and toddler exercises - such as dancing and ball games - provided at fitness centres managed by the council in a bid to curb the increase in childhood obesity.

The council said it thought Liverpool was the primary city in the UK to give children such a comprehensive scheme.

It said around 65,000 children would be helped by the scheme, which is named Futures.

The council decided to start the scheme after seeing statistics which showed 50% of 11-year-old males and 40% of 11-year-old females in Liverpool were overweight.

Research also found that one in 20 children in the city was clinically obese and one in three were not active enough.

The council said it also planned to give 1,600 low-income families free gym membership so they could also use the centres.

Council leader Warren Bradley said: "As a nation I believe it is our primary duty to do all we can to give our children the healthiest possible start in life and in Liverpool we are exploring every possible avenue."

"Nowhere else in the UK is delivering a health and fitness programme on this scale and...it would be a triumph if we could provide every child in the country with free access to their local leisure centre."

"If Liverpool can do it so can other towns and cities."



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