The world’s largest provider of 6 a side football sent out a simple message this week as it told Plymoutb: This needs to be a summer of weight loss, let us help you shed the pounds!
Leisure Leagues – who run a league at Devonport High School For Boys on Sunday, Monday and Thursday reacted as the government announced its obesity strategy last week and is urging footballers up and down the land to get out on the field.
Spokesman Jack Keeling said: “Our leagues are vital to the communities everywhere anyway, we know that, and we know how much they were missed in lockdown, but they are perhaps even more vital right now.
“Not everyone can afford costly gym memberships, and with our leagues back on, we are saying to people: come and get your sporting fix with us.”
Leisure Leagues – with hundreds of thousands of players in leagues each week – are the largest independent hirer of sports facilities in the UK and, says Jack, their players come from every walk of life and background: “Something we are very proud of,” he commented, is that we are the most inclusive sport there is. From players that are using us as training for their Saturday and Sunday games, to those that were left behind in sport at school. They can all find a home here, and all are welcomed.
Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year.
Those that are obese are at greater risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, with risk growing substantially as body mass index (BMI) increases. Nearly 8% of critically ill patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units have been morbidly obese, compared with 2.9% of the general population.
These are the reasons that Leisure Leagues felt they had to act with Jack also highlighting the other benefits of sport too. “There is no doubt that people’s mental health has been adversely affected by the pandemic – suicides are on the rise, for example – and it is well known that competing in sports really helps with that. I know, as a keen footballer myself, the camaraderie you can only get in a team.”
As part of their community focus Leisure Leagues donates to charities and good causes like Cancer Research and Dogs Trust UK and has a pledge to keep its prices as low as possible, to make the leagues as accessible for everyone.
All Leisure Leagues’ competitions are open to male and female players of 16 and over.
To find your nearest one and sign up click here: https://www.leisureleagues.net/find-a-league/plymouth