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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 June, 2005, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Pupils sit 'flab-fighting' exam
Pupils will monitor and analyse their lifestyles
Teenagers are to sit exams on exercise and healthy eating in an effort to reduce the level of childhood obesity.

The qualification in "active, healthy living", taken by 14 to 16-year-olds in England, will be equivalent to a GCSE pass at grades D to G.

The one-year course, designed by education firm Premier IQ, will involve pupils recording and analysing their diets and exercise regimes.

The childhood obesity rate rose from 9.6% in 1995 to more than 15% in 2002.

'Absolutely vital'

The healthy lifestyle course consists of two units, covering the workings of the human body and how to live a healthy lifestyle, assessed through a combination of exams and coursework.

It was piloted in Oldfield School, a specialist sports college near Bath.

Head teacher Sara Grimshaw said: "In today's increasingly inactive society it's absolutely vital to educate youngsters about the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle.

"Through the course, the children learn to monitor their own levels of activity and dietary intake and to make adjustments to improve their health.

"It's been a huge success with our pupils and we've had very positive feedback from their parents too."

Ashanti Swaby, a 14-year-old pupil said: "Since we started the course I've been going for walks with my mum at weekends and started swimming after school.

"I've also been eating more fruit and veg and I'm trying not to eat as many sweets as I did before."

The government says it wants 85% of five to 16-year-olds to take part in at least two hours of sport or exercise each week by 2008.

The qualification will be offered at schools and colleges from September.

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