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Drop the diet - but still get fit

PUBLISHED: 14:24 02 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:06 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich gym is today urging young people to keep healthy but drop the diet.

With anorexia and bulimia on the increase, many people making New Year's resolutions to slim, and teen idols like Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham exposing their slight frames in trendy clothing, a new venture to help youngsters has been started at Next Generation Gym.

AN Ipswich gym is today urging young people to keep healthy but drop the diet.

With anorexia and bulimia on the increase, many people making New Year's resolutions to slim, and teen idols like Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham exposing their slight frames in trendy clothing, a new venture to help youngsters has been started at Next Generation Gym.

Len Almond, director of the British Heart Foundation's national centre for physical activity and health, launched the Drop the Diet campaign in association with Kidco Fitness at Next Generation.

The four-session induction Shokk programme teaches youngsters to use gym equipment safely, but also informs them about how exercise affects the body and brings health benefits.

He said: "Drop the Diet is all about educating young people that diets are not the way to feel good about yourself. Celebrity diets which promote food combining or low-calorie programmes will not allow young people to have the nutrients they need for developing healthy bodies.

"With obesity rates on the rise in the UK, and the growth of the couch potato kid, there is a lot of emphasis on young people and how they look. With the Shokk scheme, the emphasis is on having fun and exercising rather than looking in a mirror."

Jonathan Williams, director of Kidco Fitness, said: "Shokk is fulfilling a real need. Parents are delighted to have a safe and professionally-monitored environment for their children to exercise in, while children can by into a lifestyle concept they can own and feel part of.

"Diets are also isolating as young people are often reluctant to admit they want to lose weight, whereas going to a gym is a much more positive step, which can be shared with friends."

The Drop the Diet campaign also has leaflets for schools about nutrition and exercise, roadshows and aims to build closer links between schools and gyms.

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