Swimming for fruit popular with Onslow kids

7 May 2021
The popular Swim for Fruit program, part of the Go for 2&5 healthy eating initiative, has been on again this season in the Pilbara town of Onslow and has been a big hit with the local children.

young Aboriginal boy choosing fruit from a bowlSwim for Fruit runs in regional and remote communities of WA. The program encourages kids to swim laps or complete other aquatic challenges to earn themselves a healthy afternoon tea of fresh fruit. It encourages physical activity and healthy eating and aims to instil a healthy, active lifestyle within these communities.

The Onslow Swim for Fruit season was supported by Principal Community Partner BHP in addition to the program’s major supporter Healthway. Onslow Aquatic Centre Pool Manager John Beard says this season “has seen 156 participants enjoy swimming laps in the Onslow Pool.”

“There are four boys in particular who have hung around the centre for the last four seasons asking if they could come in for a swim. Thankfully, after getting permission and aligning it with Royal Life Saving’s Swim for Fruit program for the past two seasons we have been able to allow these boys – and any other kids who want to participate – entry to the centre and proper supervision while they do some laps and have some healthy food,” said John.

He says the kids really look forward to coming to the pool to participate in the program. “The Onslow school is right next to the pool and I will often see the same few kids walking to school and calling out to us that they will see us after school to do their laps.”

Many regional and remote towns employ the rule of ‘No school, no pool’ to increase school attendance rates. “Being able to use the Swim for Fruit program as an incentive to get the kids to school has been a major factor in their attendance,” says John.

“It’s also refreshing to see them take pride in physical exercise by looking at doing laps as a positive and fun part of their day. And, despite me being asked every so often if they can do ‘Swim for Pies’ instead, the fruit is a big hit and it opens up the opportunity to plant the seeds of healthy eating and the effect that unhealthy foods have on the body.”

Learn more about the benefits the Swim for Fruit program is providing to regional WA communities at the link below.
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