Jack has a healthy ambition

A SUFFOLK youngster is leading the way in a groundbreaking initiative to make the county's children the healthiest in the country.

Russell Claydon

A SUFFOLK youngster is leading the way in a groundbreaking initiative to make the county's children the healthiest in the country.

Seven-year-old Jack Merrill, from West Row, near Mildenhall, is celebrating being crowned the first of more than 6,000 children to achieve all three awards in the Healthy Ambitions Suffolk Challenge.

The scheme looks to get primary schoolchildren more active and eating a balanced diet to improve their general wellbeing and future health prospects.

Jack has now been awarded bronze, silver and gold medals for achieving one hour's activity and eating five fruit and vegetables every day for three months.

He completed the challenge by playing football, riding his bike with his little sister Molly, playing cricket and having swimming lessons. His mother, Alison Merrill, said he had been really focused throughout.

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Healthy Ambitions Suffolk was launched in November 2008 with the aim of making the county the healthiest in the country by 2028. It is hoped the project will get more people active in a bid to tackle obesity, reduce cancer and heart disease deaths and put an end to inequalities that can mean a difference of as much as 12 years life expectancy in different parts of the county.

Children are still encouraged to continue with the Suffolk Challenge, and all cards must be received by January 2010.