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Hillingdon teens encouraged to lose weight and get fit

Overweight or unfit young people across the borough are being invited to sign up to a 12-week healthy living course

Rikayer Styles, 16, at Fit Teen Club

Teenagers struggling to keep active, eat well and lose weight are being encouraged to join Fit Teen Club (FTC).

Run by Hillingdon Council, FTC offers advice on nutrition and exercise to 13-16-year-olds who would like to change their lifestyles for the better.

Young people commit to the club for 12 weeks, attending sessions once a week.

Over the past 12 months, 54 teenagers have completed the course.

They are referred to FTC by GPs, schools, parents and social services, and they can also sign up themselves as well.

Rikayer Styles, 16, from Hillingdon, joined FTC in 2013. Since then she has managed to lose weight and has joined the Police Cadets.

“My mum thought it would be good for my fitness so I decided to try it,” she said.

“I’m going to admit, I used to be fat, and I felt like I didn’t want to come to FTC because I was scared of what other people would think.

“My fitness was really bad and I used to get out of breath, but it’s improved a lot since coming here.

“At first I was shy, but when I started to get to know people I felt more comfortable, and it has built up my self esteem as well.

“It’s improved my stamina and helped me to keep fit, and it’s really fun because you make new friends.”

Rikayer plays badminton, tennis, tag rugby, basketball and dodgeball, and takes part in nutrition sessions.

It’s really helpful because you can watch what kind of food you’re eating, and see how much sugar is in fizzy drinks like Coca Cola, how much grease is in fast food,” she added.

Councillor Douglas Mills, cabinet member for community, commerce and regeneration, said: “It is fantastic to see the difference that FTC can make.

“I would encourage anyone who knows a young person who could benefit from it to get in touch.”

FTC is held at Botwell Leisure Centre in Hayes on Mondays from 4pm to 6.30pm and at Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex in Uxbridge on Wednesdays from 4pm to 6.30pm.

North West London has some of the highest child obesity rates in the country.

In February, Hillingdon was named as the London borough with the highest rates of obesity for people of all ages.

Other initiatives such as healthier school meals have been introduced in a bid to combat the problem.

The next FTC course begins in September and places can be booked now.

Email sportsdev@hillingdon.gov.uk or text SPORT and Fit Teen to 80800 for more information.

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