Water the best drink option, say Bulls
Two keen young rugby players have plans to drink more water after a visit from some Taranaki Bulls players on Wednesday.
Port Taranaki Bulls players Sione Lea, Toa Halafihi, Mitchell Graham and Brad Tucker were at Fitzroy Primary School to help promote a new project run by the District Health Board and the Taranaki Rugby Football Union to emphasise the importance of children drinking water while playing sport.
As part of the campaign, which aims to get kids drinking water rather than sugary or fizzy alternatives, the players ran rugby skills drills and a game of Simon says with the pupils.
Among the groups were Neo Fraser and Matty McKenzie who are both eight years old and play for the Tukapa under nines team.
The pair said they didn’t drink fizzy drinks before a game and would definitely be drinking more water.
‘‘It was cool to have the Bulls players visit today,’’ Neo said.
Taranaki DHB health promoter, Jill Nicholls said children needed the hydration of water but not the sugar or chemicals found in fizzy drinks, fruit juice or sports drinks.
‘‘Sports drinks are only required by athletes playing high level or elite sports.’’
The sugary drinks are believed to help contribute to many noncommunicable diseases especially obesity, type II diabetes and tooth decay.
Water (preferably fluoridated) and plain milk should be the preferred drinks for both children and adults, Nicholls said.
Halafihi said drinking water and keeping well hydrated were crucial.
‘‘Drinking water is definitely important in what we do as we need to perform at our best.
‘‘It’s something small but is so vitally important.’’
He believed parents could help by getting their children a water bottle to carry with them to create a habit of drinking water, not just for sports but also for their general health and well being.
The Taranaki players have been visiting schools across the region whenever they have had a home game in New Plymouth and the visit to Fitzroy Primary School was just one of many on the cards last week.
Also due for a visit from the players were Rahotu, Coastal Taranaki, Waitara East and Te Piipiinga Kakano Mai Rangiatea schools.
Taranaki Bulls rugby players Mitchell Graham and Brad Tucker were at Fitzroy Primary School in New Plymouth to educate the students on the importance of drinking water.