Scotland Women internationals Lucy Millard and Cara De Silva yesterday lent their weight to the launch of a new partnership initiative between the Food Standards Agency Scotland (FSAS) and Scottish Rugby. The initiative will encourage thousands of youngsters across the country to increase their knowledge of food hygiene and healthy eating and also to improve their fitness.
The Scotland Women wing and full-back feature alongside Scotland full-back Hugo Southwell and 20 of his international colleagues in a new educational mission book, which has been developed by the FSAS and Scottish Rugby. The book is packed full of healthy eating and hygiene tips and activities.
About 5000 school children from 160 primary schools across Scotland will take part in this initiative. It comprises a six-week training course for boys and girls in primaries five and six. The course is designed to make children more aware of the benefits of good food hygiene and healthy eating.
Some youngsters and teachers from schools participating in the scheme joined the Scotland rugby squad at Murrayfield Stadium yesterday and were treated to a healthy lunch before stepping pitch-side.
Lydia Wilkie, Assistant Director, FSAS, said: "I am delighted to launch this initiative with Scottish Rugby and our other partners, Active Schools co-ordinators, and, of course, the teachers themselves.
"We have evidence from our earlier pilot that using sports coaches as role models helps to motivate youngsters to take on and understand messages about safe and healthy eating along with fun activities."
Southwell said: "We all need to eat a varied, balanced diet that is packed full of healthy foods. It's important to make sure you get your five portions of fruit and veg a day and also to avoid sugary and salty snacks as much as you can.
"Don't sit all day in front of the telly or Playstation. Get outside, play sport and have fun."
Ken MacEwen, Scottish Rugby's National Fitness Co-ordinator, said: "Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle are at the very core of our national fitness programmes. Following these simple guidelines as laid down in a very user-friendly manner in the mission-book will lay foundations that will benefit all the participating children, hopefully for the long-term."
The pupils will complete a variety of healthy eating and food hygiene activities each week from learning how to be healthy and get the right balance of foods and how to handle and store food hygienically and safely.
It's not all classroom-based, however. After completing the theory, children will step outside and join Scottish Rugby's club development staff for a practical fun-based rugby session. During the session, the coaches will ask the pupils questions on activities in the pupil mission book to test their knowledge and introduce new topics.
Every pupil who successfully completes the course will receive a certificate along with goodies including a kit bag and fridge thermometer. Participating schools will receive rugby kit.