Move60 bike boost to col­lege stu­dent

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHIANNON McCON­NELL

She never learnt to ride a bike, has rheumatic fever, and didn’t re­ally like ex­er­cise, but then Ash­leigh Thom­son- Eyre met Sarah Walker.

Ash­leigh, 13, from Can­nons Creek, was cho­sen to be part of the Move60 ini­tia­tive, de­signed to en­cour­age teens to be ac­tive for 60 min­utes a day.

While obe­sity rates in New Zealand are the high­est they have ever been, teens such as Ash­leigh are learn­ing the joy of an old-fash­ioned bike ride.

In March, Olympic sil­ver medal- win­ning BMX rider Sarah Walker hosted more than 100 teens at Te Rua­paraha Arena, where they were gifted bikes courtesy of Move60. The pro­gramme, run by Coca-Cola in part­ner­ship with BikeNZ and the Foun­da­tion for Youth Devel­op­ment, aims to in­spire 100,000 teens to get mov­ing by 2020.

Ash­leigh had never owned a bike and was ex­cited about be­ing cho­sen.

‘‘I felt pretty stin,k all my friends had a bike and I didn’t,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m still not that con­fi­dent but I know how to ride.’’

Be­tween Ash­leigh and her three sib­lings, the bike is well used.

‘‘If I keep go­ing I’ll get skinny. It’s good fit­ness. It re­ally works.’’

Her mother, Tina- Marie Thomp­son, said she was proud of her daugh­ter, who had been sick with rheumatic fever as a child.

‘‘ Up un­til that time she’d never been in­ter­ested.

‘‘I was ex­cited for her,’’ she said.

She now hoped to buy her older son a bike so the two could ride to Mana Col­lege to­gether.

‘‘They are very close to each other so hav­ing some­thing in com­mon helps.’’

Ear­lier this year, an in­ter­na­tional study re­vealed New Zealan­ders have a higher rate of obe­sity than Aus­tralians, with two thirds of adults classed as obese or over­weight.

Child­hood obe­sity rates have also in­creased since 1980, ris­ing to 29 per cent from 18 per cent.

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