Johnny Sexton kicks off Super Troopers with Laya Healthcare
238,000 school kids and almost half of all primary schools now participating in Ireland’s only ‘Health Homework’ programme -
Rugby star, Johnny Sexton today kicked off Super Troopers with laya healthcare, Ireland’s only ‘Health Homework’ programme currently running in almost half of all primary schools in Ireland with 238,000 school children, 162,000 families and 15,000 teachers taking part in the free initiative this year.
Super Troopers with laya healthcare encourages families to treat health and wellbeing with the same importance as traditional homework and features fun, short-burst activities that prompt children to get moving for at least 10-15 minutes at a time, building towards the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
Super Troopers also includes mindfulness challenges and expert tips on looking after overall health, such as the importance of getting enough sleep and drinking enough water, along with guidelines on healthy eating. The Programme aims to instil healthier behaviours and attitudes among young children and their families, behaviours that will positively serve them into adulthood. Its approach to health is holistic, covering three pillars; physical health, emotional wellbeing and nutrition.
Independent research among 1,280 school children, parents and teachers by health psychologist Professor David Hevey from Trinity College Dublin found that Super Troopers has been successful in improving healthy behaviours among families:
- After taking part in Super Troopers, between one quarter and one third of children, parents and their families said they were more active
- One in four families admit to eating healthier as a result of participating
- Mindfulness and wellbeing one in four (23%) of children improved their stress management compared with before they started Super Troopers
Commenting at the launch of Super Troopers with laya healthcare, Johnny Sexton said being a Dad of two has opened his eyes to the importance of getting active as a family, “I’m a huge fan of Super Troopers, it’s such a clever way to get kids more active with their families. Involving teachers in overseeing the health homework aspect of Super Troopers is an integral part of the Programme and that’s really clever because we all know how conscientious parents are to make sure that homework is done and signed off on. I’ve already introduced my kids to some of the activities and they love them, it makes getting active together easy and fun. We love ‘Musical Sprints’* and the ‘7 Day Happy Challenge’* in our house, it’s great to see mindfulness encouraged among kids when they’re so young.”
Laya Healthcare’s Deputy Managing Director D.O. O’Connor says Super Troopers has grown exponentially since it launched as a pilot in 2014, “In just four years, we’ve grown Super Troopers from 330 participating schools to over 1,510 and our ambition is to expand to all primary schools in time. At laya healthcare, we believe in the importance of instilling healthier habits at a younger age, by embedding healthy attitudes towards nutrition and fitness among families, we will help combat childhood obesity and ensure a healthier adult population in the future.”
How can schools take part?
It’s easy for schools to take part, they simply sign up to participate and all materials are then provided free of charge. Participating schools and families receive Super Trooper activity journals, family wall charts and a teacher’s guide to the Programme. Because the activities are fun, children will want to repeat them and will therefore keep moving for longer. Children are also encouraged to use the journal to record other activities they do each day, such as football, dancing and swimming, to meet the daily activity target.
Super Troopers with laya healthcare is endorsed by the Government’s Healthy Ireland framework for health and wellbeing. SuperValu is the official healthy eating partner to Super Troopers.
For registration details along with a guide to Super Trooper activities and recipes, please go to supertroopers.ie.
 Research carried out in 2017 among 1,280 school children, parents and teachers by health psychologist Professor David Hevey from Trinity College Dublin