Desmond the Dragon made a new friend at the Crown Oil Arena on Saturday, as children learned about the importance of drinking water at the club’s first home game of the season.
The Dale mascot paired up with Rochelle, part of Rochdale Council’s Healthy Heroes family, to teach young fans about the benefits of drinking water daily.
Rochelle and Desmond gave out free water bottles for children to take home, along with advice on how families can cut down their sugar intake. Families also took home sticker charts to keep track of their water drinking with the 30-day water challenge, with parents and grandparents encouraged to take part too.
Keith Hicks, Rochdale AFC's Head of Community, said: "We want to promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to our young supporters. This includes choosing to drink water on a daily basis instead of sports and energy drinks which have a high content of sugar hiding in them. We were delighted to welcome Rochelle and the council as we aim to tackle the issue of sugar consumption by young children".
The activity at the Crown Oil Arena is part of a Rochdale Council scheme to help families make healthy lifestyle choices.
Figures show that 47 per cent of 5-year-olds in Rochdale show some degree of tooth decay – and sugary drinks are a major contributor to the problem. When sugar is consumed in sugary drinks, it can cause a whole host of health issues, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Andrea Fallon, Director of Public Health, said: "Drinking water as a first choice over sugary drinks helps to establish good habits that can last a lifetime. Thank you to Rochdale AFC for being ambassadors for recognising how influential sports stars are to children and for joining us in setting the right example".