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Cool fuel has its rewards

THERE IS a piece of broccoli asking what your favourite sport is, a creature who looks like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, a compe-tition to win tickets to Disney on Ice, and big-eyed school pupils in garish, striped school uniform all set against quasi-psychedelic bursts of fuzzy colour.

It sounds like something that would nestle inconspicuously alongside the Beano and the Dandy, but is, in fact, the latest attempt to get Scottish children to eat healthily. Cool Fuel Kids, a web-site aimed at Glasgow's 38,000 primary pupils, studiously avoids a beseeching tone and screeds of worthy facts about nutritious diets.

The site includes Plaque Man uncannily similar to an iconic computer game of the 1980s where players must help hero Willie evade grey splodges described as "evil mutated plaquemen", and gather up as many toothbrushes, carrots and cartons of milk as he can.

Healthy menus appear next to chunky text on bright banners that proclaim Choice 1, 2, 3 or 4 it is not dissimilar in look to the "meals" on a fast food menu. A cartoon strip sees the Cool Fuel Kids getting up to good-natured hi jinks with a message, like Bash St Kids but without the anarchy.

There are healthy food tips and recipes, but these are tucked away in a corner of the website, and not the first things to catch the eye.

The website, launched last week, follows on from the city council's equivalent for secondary pupils, Fuel Zone, and an existing Cool Fuel Kids comic that is sent to every city primary school four times a year. Fuel Zone includes a scheme where pupils collect points for eating healthy foods, which can be exchanged for iPods, portable DVD players and cinema tickets.

A similar rewards system is likely to be incorporated into Cool Fuel Kids. Other changes will be made based on suggestions received through the site, designed by Glasgow City Council with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Gordon Matheson, the council's executive member for education and social renewal, said: "Cool Fuel Kids website is a modern and fun way to encourage pupils and parents to become more involved in Glasgow's healthy-eating efforts."

* www.coolfuelkids.co.uk

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