Fruit and water campaign starts in schools

| 03/05/2010

(CNS): As obesity rates in schools rise the government has launched a public health campaign this month to get kids drinking more water and eating more fruit. The Public Health Department hopes to inspire school children to get healthier and staff will visit primary schools in all three islands during Child Month to host health talks focused on the nutritional and health benefits of natural foods, as well as distribute fruit and water snack packs.  

“The health of any nation depends largely on the health of its children. We hope that this initiative will encourage our students to make smart food choices from a very young age to help them grow into healthy adults,” explained School Health Coordinator Joanna Rose Wright. “With local school health screenings showing such high percentages of childhood obesity (37.6%  of children 10-14 years of age being overweight and obese, and 27.2% aged 4-6 years being overweight and obese), it is imperative that we pursue these kinds of school-based health initiatives,” she added.
The department will also use the opportunity to collect basic statistics on local school children’s food and beverage consumption.
“At this point we have anecdotal evidence that our children don’t eat sufficient fruit and vegetables, neither do they drink enough water. A proper survey will give us clear and accurate data to determine where we stand,” said Community Dietician Bethany Smith.
School visits are so far scheduled for April 28 (North Side Primary), 11 May (East End Primary) and 17 May (Bodden Town Primary). The schedule for the remaining schools will be announced.
“We thank Jacques Scott, Generali Worldwide and Foster’s Food Fair for their contributions to the fruit and water initiative. Without them, it would have been impossible,” Health Promotion Officer Therese Prehay said.
As part of its Child Month celebration, the department will also step up its immunisation efforts for school-aged children by conducting special immunisation clinics during May.
Starting on the 4 May (Tuesday) parents can take advantage of the special clinics every Tuesday and Thursday, from 3-6 p.m. at the Public Health Department, Cayman Islands Hospital.
For further information, please contact School Health Coordinator Joanna Rose Wright at 244-2734 or Ms. Prehay at 244-2632.
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