England and Saracens centre Brad Barritt today acclaimed Premiership Rugby's new nationwide campaign to tackle obesity through sport.
Barritt was at St Joseph's Catholic Junior School in Wembley to help launch the Something To Chew On programme, which will be run in 120 schools across England.
Funded by The Supporters Club – BT Sport's charitable initiative – Something To Chew On will be run by the 12 Premiership Rugby clubs and Barritt says that eating well is something he takes a lot of pride in. The programme aims to
improve the lives of more than 7,000 children aged seven and eight.
"A healthy lifestyle is pivotal in a rugby player's life," Barritt said. "Nutrition is a core foundation to being both healthy and performing well on the pitch.
"To be able to live an active and fruitful life it's key to discover what you're eating. Different foods provide you with the energy you need to enable you to go outside and perform.
"It's a great initiative and the earlier you learn all of this means it's an extra tool to help you be successful and healthy in later life.
"A lot of this stuff I would have learned from my mum but to have a programme dedicated to teaching children how to lead an active lifestyle will provide a wonderful tool to give children that extra knowledge."
Barritt was on hand to assist the children of St Joseph's in a sandwich making exercise before donning an eye-mask for a blind food tasting competition.
As well as classroom sessions, Something to Chew On encourages a healthy lifestyle through playing tag rugby with a one-hour fitness and movement session each week.
"The children love these sessions," said Simone Shepherd, Saracens Sport Development Manager, who has been working with the children at St Joseph's for several weeks.
"It's great to have someone come in to take the session. It's also another way to engage the children with the classroom sessions and tag rugby lessons.
"The kids really enjoy finding out about Saracens and the players and about the different foods that they eat.
"Showing the link between the Saracens players and what we're trying to achieve with this project is always really positive.
"The children seem to latch onto it better than if you just reel off the facts. I'm really pleased with the programme and it's had a positive impact on many of the children that we've worked with."
And Dr Ann Hoskins, Director of Children, Young People and Families at Public Health England, said: "We know that children learn more when they're enjoying what they're doing.
"I really like this programme because it brings together the importance of a healthy diet with an active lifestyle and does it in a fun way."
To find out more about Premiership Rugby's healthy eating programme Something to Chew On funded by The Supporters Club, BT Sport's charitable initiative, with support from Public Health England