TV personality champions children’s health in Derbyshire school

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TV personality, Zack George, aka STEEL from Gladiators, has set out on a personal mission to supercharge health and well-being in UK schools, by launching a new initiative in Derbyshire yesterday.

Zack, who was named the UK’s fittest man after winning the UK CrossFit challenge in 2020, has launched a health and fitness initiative called Zactiv for school children of all ages.

He visited Orchard Community Primary School yesterday in Castle Donington to deliver one of his first workshops, with the children, parents and teachers all giving the scheme high praise.

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Zack takes his programme into primary and secondary schools with the aim of engaging children and encouraging them to be the best and healthiest that they can be.

Pupils at Orchard Community Primary School with ZackPupils at Orchard Community Primary School with Zack
Pupils at Orchard Community Primary School with Zack

Zactiv is supported in part by sponsorship from businesses that are keen to align their corporate social responsibility programmes with the future health of our nation.

Rebecca Barton's little boy took part in the workshop yesterday, she said: "My little boy is usually so shy, and I wasn't sure if he would join in but he absolutely loved it.He hasn't stopped talking about meeting Zack and telling me what's healthy! What Zack is doing is amazing."

The real-life superman, from Sileby, Leicestershire, has more than 230,000 followers on Instagram but has become a major household name this year for appearing in one of BBC TV’s prime-time Saturday night entertainment programmes.

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Zack said: “When I go into schools, the children just go insane. Seeing someone in their school who they may have seen on TV just the weekend before... they just lose their minds.

“I want to use that current fame for the greater good, as this is an extremely personal mission. I want to show every single kid that anything is possible.”

Zactiv, which also focuses on nutrition and helping to boost children’s confidence, was founded as the direct result of Zack’s own journey to fitness.

At the age of six, Zack was severely overweight and as a result had a huge lack of confidence, mentally struggling with how he looked. He also had a bad relationship with food and binge eating’

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Benefitting from a dose of tough parental support in his teens, combined with his own nerves of steel, Zack embarked on a mission to get fit and healthy.

Completely changing his lifestyle, eating healthy food and getting active, his hard work paid off. Within years he was crowned the UK’s fittest man – among a host of other accolades in the world of fitness. Zack is now hoping that his story will inspire school children to do the same.

He said: “I want to use my story and profile to inspire children and young people to take charge of their own health.

Fitness and what we eat can have a huge impact on our lives. As a child, I wasn’t happy in my own skin but with the support of my family and my dedication to achieving my goals, I turned this around with exercise and healthy eating. I want to be a role model for children.”

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He said: “Armed with the knowledge of what is healthy and how to stay active, they, like me, can achieve great things physically and mentally.”

Statistics show that one in five children leaving primary school in the UK is obese. Less than one-third of children take part in the recommended levels of activity for their age, and obese children are four times more likely to develop diabetes – a disease that has increased in children by 50 per cent since 2006.

Zack has designed his school sessions in age-appropriate groupings, incorporating age ranges from 3 to 16.

Workshops have already proved a big hit in schools across the East Midlands region, so Zack is looking to take Zactiv further afield.

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Teaming up with Nottinghamshire firm Muscle Foods and sports hydration brand Actiph, he recounts his own story, offers health and nutrition advice, answers questions and shares mindful breathing exercises and confidence boosting tips.

Zack said: “The impact of eating rubbish can have such a negative impact on not only physical but also mental health. By promoting exercising regularly and eating healthily we can turn that trend around.

“I hope that my story will inspire any of those children struggling with their weight or fitness and show them just what can be achieved.”

He added: “I want to give back. I’ve been in a fortunate position to do some amazing things as a result of turning my fitness and health around. If I can make a difference and help even one child to become fitter and healthier it will be an absolute privilege.”

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Delivering the workshops with his current two partner firms, Zack said that Actiph has allocated 30,000 water bottles to be distributed to school children as part of the emphasis on the importance of hydration, and each child who takes part in the workshop will receive one.

Meanwhile, Muscle Foods is developing a family hamper tailored to healthy lifestyles. Included within will be a range of healthy alternatives – protein pizza, healthy snacks, all at an initially discounted rate to kick-start healthy eating goals.

In order to take the scheme to as many schools as possible, Zack is offering businesses the chance to join him on his mission. Zack is actively looking for health-conscious commercial partners whose principals align with his to help sponsor the programme and help get the nation’s children fitter and ready for the future.

Anyone interested in finding out more about sponsorship can contact [email protected]