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UEL helps Hammers stars serve up a treat

students at UEL

The next generation of West Ham football stars have been getting tips from an academic at the University of East London – on how to eat and cook healthily.

Players and staff from the Hammers’ under-21 squad attended a cookery class lead by UEL’s David Dixon. Many of the players – aged 17-20 – have just moved into their own homes for the first time, so the aim was to teach them the skills to support themselves properly.

The players where divided into groups, and given the task of cooking a healthy meal from scratch. As Senior Lecturer in Applied Sport and Exercise Science, David Dixon was just the right man to advise professional sportsmen and women how to get the most out of their diet. He is also pursuing a PhD examining athletes’ vitamin status across a number of sports.

“The purpose of the session was to give these players the skills so when they move away from home, they will be able to prepare meals for themselves,” explained David, “and to know what types of food they should be eating, and what food actually gives them. There is lots of research now into sports nutrition, but it’s not just about performance - it’s also about delivering a healthy athlete to the club. Because if they’re not healthy, they can’t perform.”

Tom Smith – West Ham’s Head of Academy Elite Performance & Sports Medicine -- who also attended the session, was particularly pleased with how it went.

“At West Ham United FC we strive to not only develop elite young footballers but good people as well,” he said. “This is an example of the efforts made to provide young players with some of the knowledge and skills they may need in their life away from the training pitch.

“Whether it was learning about the nutritional value of certain foods and when it is appropriate to consume them within a busy training schedule; practising the skills to become better at preparing certain meals, or an opportunity to experience a variety of recipes, I am sure every player benefitted from the afternoon’s work.”

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Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.