Healthy lifestyle actively promoted at school

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SABA — In an effort to foster a healthy lifestyle amongst the community, in particular the youth, the Public Entity Saba has approved a project created by the Public Health Department in conjunction with Kemaul Lee of Fit with Lee. The project, entitled Healthy Choices, Happy Kids, encourages school children and their parents to partake in various activities that promote healthy eating and physical exercise.

On Saba, childhood obesity is a significant public health concern, with 28 percent of primary school children falling within the overweight or obese category. We know that children who suffer from obesity are more likely to remain obese as an adult and are therefore at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and respiratory problems. This project strives to encourage families to make small lifestyle changes which will benefit their immediate and long-term health.

The project will be piloted with Grade 2 and Grade 3 in Sacred Heart Primary School and activities will also occur in Laura Linzey Day Care. In class movement will be encouraged through exercise breaks, facilitated by teachers, in between lessons and when teachers notice student’s concentration fading. An exercise break will involve 3 to 5 minutes of movements. Classes will be visited weekly by project leaders to discuss nutrition and healthy eating in an interaction and fun manner, including fruit and vegetable tasting and a visit to Saba Reach’s garden.

As research shows that children are five times more likely to stay active if their parents are active this project also seeks to encourage parental involvement. Parents and children will be invited to Saturday morning Fit with Lee sessions to have fun and exercise together. Parents will also be encouraged to attend a Partners in Parenting information evening where they will experience for themselves the classroom activities conducted with their children. Commissioner of Health Care, Social Affairs and Youth Affairs Rolando Wilson said he was particularly content with this project as it will benefit the youngsters. “It is important to invest in the younger generation,” he said.

The programme is due to commence in the middle of October and run for six weeks after which it is hoped to be introduced to other classes. Follow the progress of Healthy Choices, Happy Kids, on the Public Health Department Facebook page. @sabapublichealth

This initiative is funded through the Prevention Accord which the Public Entity Saba and the Dutch Government signed in 2019.