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Childhood obesity is a major Australian health issue that the NRL One Community program is eager to tackle in 2009.

As the 2009 One Community Carnival kicks-off, more than 100 NRL stars, including Willie Mason, Terry Campese, Ben Creagh, Sam Thaiday, Aaron Payne, John Sutton, Chris Lawrence and Dallas Johnson, will set-off to over 50 destinations with a new approach to pre-season Rugby League.

As well as posters, football and autograph cards, the players will launch the Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well program – a One Community Health initiative that uses the celebrity of sport to change the way kids eat and keep fit.

The expected 40-plus degree temperatures of Harden in south-western NSW may not have the feel of footy season, but it is where NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, will join his player group with others travelling to the flood stricken Gulf country, Darwin, regional Queensland and NSW and the Mornington Peninsula over the coming days.

The Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well program, which has the support of the Children’s Hospital Foundations Australia, aims to use the high profile of NRL stars to promote positive health messages to children and families and help reduce the incidences of childhood obesity.

“The Community Carnival is a fun time of year for everyone involved but this year it also carries an important message,” Mr Gallop said today.

“The Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well program is a unique concept in Australian sport and it will be great to see the response it receives in schools across Australia this week.

“There are more than 100 players visiting 206 schools and it’s an ideal opportunity for fans in regional areas to meet the game’s stars.”

The three-day Community Carnival runs through to Friday and is one of the highlights of the Rugby League calendar, bringing together NRL stars and  regional fans in a series of school and hospital visits, autograph sessions and coaching clinics.

As part of the festivities, over the next three days the players will distribute 25,000 autograph cards, 10,000 posters and 10,000 footballs as well as unveil the Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well DVD for use in schools.

Titans co-captain Scott Prince, who stars in the DVD with Eels hero Nathan Hindmarsh, says he is passionate about tackling childhood obesity.

“As a dad, I think it’s really important to promote a healthy lifestyle to our kids,” Prince said.

“Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well is a fun way for kids to maintain a healthy diet and to be active.”

In addition to school visits on Wednesday, players will be making the following public appearances. Everyone is welcome to attend:

4pm – 5.30pm: Davidson Oval, Bourke 4pm – 5.30pm: McLean Oval, Harden 4pm – 5.30pm: Merriwa Showground 4pm – 5.30pm: Junior Rugby League Grounds, Warwick 4.30 – 6pm: Taree Recreational Grounds 4pm – 5pm Loseby Park, Bowral 4pm – 5pm Mittagong Sport Ground 4pm: Naprinam PCYC 5pm:  Weipa shopping complex 5pm – 6pm: Tannum Sands Rugby League fields 4.30pm – 6pm: Newpark Oval, Kyogle

For more information on Rugby League’s Community Carnival click here.

To find out who's going where, click here.

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