West Ham footballer praises scheme designed to combat diabetes
- Credit: Archant
West Ham footballer Pablo Zabaleta has praised the success of a scheme designed to help people at risk of developing diabetes.
The 150 Club - which takes its name from the recommended 150 minutes of exercise people should do every week - sees participants take a free 24 week course to improve their health.
And to celebrate 500 people completing the course since it was introduced, Zabaleta and his team-mate Carlos Sanchez met with participants at SportsDock, based on the University of East London's Docklands campus.
The visit on Thursday, August 15, was part of the club's Players' Project, which sees Hammers stars give up their time and energy towards a range of community projects.
Zabaleta, who has been at West Ham since 2017, is an ambassador for the health strand of the project and has previously met many of the 150 Club's participants.
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The defender said: "Health is so important and to know that we've been part of 500 people changing their lives is really good.
"It shows how big the benefits can be if you do activity and even from their point of view they say they feel so much better.
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"Whatever the sport is fine, you just need to do a bit of exercise and look after yourself so you can be healthy and lead a good life, not only for you but your friends and family too."
The football club's foundation was involved in the development of the 150 Club project, which was set up in response to the borough having one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in England - 24,500 residents have been diagnosed - but also one of the lowest rates of physically active adults, with just 45 per cent completing the recommended 150 minutes of weekly activity. For Peter Bell, the 500th person to complete the programme, taking part has helped him to reach his correct BMI level and improve his overall health.
He said: "I got involved in the programme following a health check. Having a lifestyle advisor was really helpful; I started by cycling and then built up to things like the treadmill and now I'm eating a lot healthier as well
"The fact that Pablo and Carlos have joined us is excellent and the whole group have enjoyed it. West Ham really are a local community club - they've not forgotten their roots."