Ambassadors for good health in schools

Monday, December 03, 2018

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Mandeville, Manchester — The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) says it recently trained 58 high school students and 15 teachers as ambassadors for the Jamaica Moves in Schools programme.

A news release said students, teachers and facilitators from 15 high schools in Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon participated in a residential camp at the Ocean View Bible Camp in St Elizabeth.

The camp placed emphasis on nutrition and physical activity and routine health checks.

The Jamaica Moves in Schools programme is a partnership between the Ministries of Health and Education, through the Jamaica Moves initiative.

It aims to increase the number of students engaging in moderate level of physical activity by five per cent.

The programme should also increase the number of students that make healthier food choices by five per cent, increase the number of schools that have integrated identification of at-risk students for non-communicable diseases and facilitate appropriate intervention by 20 per cent.

The release cited the Ministry of Health as saying that “non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers are one of the major threats to sustainable development in the 21st century. These four major NCDs account for 67 per cent of all deaths and 24 per cent of premature deaths (occurring between 30 to 70 years of age) in 2015.”

The ministry explained that in response to a sharp rise in childhood obesity in children, the Jamaica Moves in Schools programme will utilise health promotion strategies including public health policy, supportive environments, strengthening of community actions, reorienting health services and building alliances with groups particularly the media.

Strategies will include: five minutes stretch breaks in schools, National “School Moves Day” annually; implementation of school nutrition standards; implementation of the Interim Guidelines for Sweetened Beverages; institutionalisation of a mandatory water day/fruit or vegetable day; facilitation of annual measurements of students' Body Mass Index (BMI); registry of students identified with NCDs and routine medical checks.

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