A KARATE champion is visiting schools in the region to promote exercise to youngsters.

Five-time national karate champion Rob Loft, 43, has taken on the role of Freddy Fit, a cartoon character who was created to promote a healthy lifestyle to age groups who would otherwise lead sedentary lives.

The all-action figure emphasises the importance of diet and exercise but, because Freddy is a child, he has to attend school like everyone else.

Mr Loft called at Richmond Primary School yesterday and will lead other sessions in Northallerton and Scarborough later this week.

"The reaction is normally excellent,'' he said.

"An active lifestyle is even more important today as we are living in an age when four out of ten children in the UK could be classed as obese.''