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Soap and hip hop stars back campaign

EastEnders star Pooja Shah this week backed The TES Get Active campaign saying: "I think it is a brilliant idea."

The 24-year-old, who plays Kareena Ferreira in the BBC's award-winning soap opera, looks after her body.

"I try to be healthy by eating lots of fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water," she said. "I can totally feel the difference in my skin, and the way I feel inside."

Pooja, from the London borough of Finchley, was a fan of EastEnders while at university in Brighton. She appeared in Brit-flick Bend it Like Beckham, the story of a young Sikh girl's football obsession, starring Parminder K Nagra and Keira Knightley.

Pooja's support came as hundreds of primaries and secondaries registered support for The TES campaign, designed to help schools tackle the worrying trend of childhood obesity.

This week Hasmonean primary, Hendon, north London, Primrose Hill community school, King's Norton, Birmingham and Yew Tree community school Aston, West Midlands, became some of the latest schools to sign up to the Get Active campaign by registering on the website.

They are joined by Big Brovaz, the south London hip-hop collective, in supporting the campaign. The five-member group which first hit the charts with their number two single Nu Flow in September 2002, are urging Britain's pupils to get healthy.

Nadia Shepherd, 24, who is working on the band's second album, has been a fitness fanatic since her school days at Denefield comprehensive in Reading, where she ran, did athletics and netball.

She said: "At school they did have fatty foods that we could not resist, but I didn't mind because I used to sweat it off with all the exercise I did.

"Sometimes children can have chips, but in the long run they have to realise that it adds up. I have lazy family members who just eat and eat. I used to tell them it is going to pile up and they did not listen. Now they have put on lots of weight they regret it."

Nadia jogs in the morning now but skips the gym. She said: "We keep fit by rehearsing and performing. We don't need to go to the gym. We perform on stage, and that is our gym."

Nadia, one of three female band members, lives in Brixton in a house with the two boys in the band, Randy and J-Rock. Nadia's keeps her fridge stocked with healthy snacks and drinks.

J-Rock, 26, encourages his seven-year-old daughter Demii to be fit. He said: "When Demii started school she didn't like doing PE, but I did a little bit of sports with her, a bit of track and field and running, and now she is into it."

J-Rock's former school Hatcham Wood in New Cross, south London, has been demolished but he remembers the stodgy school meals: "School dinners were pizza, chips, burgers, anything fried. But I wasn't unhealthy because me and my friends were trying to be muscly because muscly dudes get all the girls."

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