20,000 children from 747 classrooms and 261 schools across New Zealand embarked on the annual five-week Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure in September, which inspires and educates kids to make healthy choices for a lifetime of good physical and mental health.
Young and Healthy Charitable Trust and Virtual Adventure Founder Kim Harvey is excited to get started and continue sharing the foundations of good health with this year’s participants.
“The Zespri Young and Healthy Virtual Adventure is designed to encourage and educate tamariki to create their best health and wellbeing practices, and influence their friends and family to get involved too.
“Research shows the first 10 years of a child’s life set the foundations for good health, so we’ve designed the programme in a fun and interactive way to help kids understand and notice for themselves what it feels like when they make healthy choices.
“The kids earn points for simple healthy habits like drinking plenty of water, eating fruit and vegetables, caring for their mental health and looking after our environment, which helps them travel virtually to different locations around the world with their classmates,” says Ms Harvey.
This year includes a focus is on ‘Moving in Nature’ to encourage moving outside during the cooler, greyer days because it has so many additional benefits that boosts our energy and wellbeing.
“We’re so lucky to live in a country surrounded by natural beauty and we’re encouraging our kids to get their nature’s fix in winter by playing on the school field at lunch, walking or biking after school, or planning a trip to their local beach, lake or mountain in the weekend.
“We chose this focus this year for some extra encouragement during the cooler months and because we know how important it is for our mental health, that exercising outside magnifies the benefits of movement, and also how noticing nature influences us to take greater care of it,” says Ms Harvey.
Zespri Head of Global Public Affairs Michael Fox says Zespri is proud to partner with the Young and Healthy Trust with the shared vision of supporting kiwi kids to thrive.
“Zespri’s purpose is to help people, communities and the environment thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit and the adventure does just that by making a positive difference to so many kids and communities across New Zealand.
“We’re looking forward to getting started today and we hope all the participants enjoy their virtual adventure,” says Mr Fox.
The programme is complemented by a series of in-person school visits, including special guest appearances by sports stars and ASICS ambassadors and 13 deserving classrooms will receive free ASCIS sports shoes.
Zespri’s support means the five-week challenge is free for 20,000 primary and intermediate students across New Zealand each year. Over 80,000 children have participated with Zespri’s support to date.
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Published: November 2023