Kelston Boys walk for 100% water

By Te Ao Māori News

Today marks the first day of Men's Health Week and Kelston Boys High School is tackling diabetes and obesity head on.  Students and teachers are embarking on a 3.1-kilometre walk to have 'Water Only', in a bid to minimise students sugar intake.

One step after the other. Kelston Boys High School are in stride against diabetes and obesity.

Student Billy Netana Witika says, "The main focus of today is being healthy in schools so that we can learn to fill our bodies with the right fuel and that is water, forget sweet drinks and fizzy's."

Last year, The Ministries of Health and Education made an announcement encouraging schools to provide students with water and milk only, Kelston Boys has taken that advice and are running with it.

Principal Brian Evan says, "There's enough research around to prove that drinking water is going to be a lot better for you than sugary drinks and so on. Being a relatively good sporting school and making that connection with your body and effects that water can have on it and then linking that into the boys learning, it's a really good message and the boys have embraced it."

Kelston Boys is home to 54% Māori and Pacific students. In 2012, 55% of Māori and Pacific children were overweight or obese. Healthy Families are working with schools nationwide to encourage healthy lifestyles and drinking water as a preferred choice.

Healthy Families Waitakere Manager Kerry Allan says, "We're really trying to bring water back as the primary choice and the best choice for students at schools and trying to reduce any consumption of sugary drinks whilst they're learning and whilst they're at school and also to take those messages back to the family and to the whānau to encourage them to consider water being the best choice."

Proceedings from the 'Walk for Water' fundraiser will go towards the school's new water fountain as well as provide all students with water bottles.