Paula Ratcliffe: Kids need to start running to cure #obesity crisis

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LONDON Marathon star Paula Radcliffe says getting children exercising is the key to solving the childhood obesity crisis. The mother of two says they are more sedentary than ever and it is affecting their weight, health, life expectancy and happiness.

PUBLISHED: PUBLISHED: 00:01, Sun, Nov 3, 2019

obestyPauline helps others learn to run regularly (Image: Nike)

The three-time London Marathon winner called on parents to limit youngsters’ screen time and instead encourage them to be more active. Paula, 45, who lives in Monaco, says she has switched her life ambition to “helping others achieve their goals”, which she aims to do partly through fronting public health campaigns. “I go for a run at the beginning of the day to keep myself physically and mentally healthy – to keep me sane – and I still jump into races, but now not competitively. My goal is to help others achieve their goals, to help improve the image of athletes and get more people into sport, including children.” 

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Paula, whose 16-year marathon world record title was broken by a minute and 24 seconds by 25-year-old Kenyan Brigid Kosgei last month said: “You can put kids on diets and ensure they are eating healthily but children need to be physically fit and they are more sedentary than ever. 

“Children aren’t naturally lazy. If you watch them, they run around, they’re curious, they don’t like sitting still and they’re naturally competitive. Parents and teachers try to squash this, but that’s a mistake. Instead, we need to channel it into finding a sport that they love. 

“The more initiatives the better and we need to make activity more fun. My children tell me it was easier for me when I was growing up because there were fewer other fun things to do, but we need to make it easier and get children out scooting, doing family activities and active things that they enjoy.” 

Paula said that she, like many parents, faces the constant battle against the pull of the mobile phone or screen with her children, Isla, 12 and Raphael, nine. 

“Exercise helps boost self-esteem, happiness and confidence so if we get our children more active, they’ll become happier too,” she said. “I would limit screen time on every screen they have access to. There has to be time to exercise in the day and screen time should come as a reward for this. It’s give and take. As families, we

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