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Dancing for health

BY RENAE DIXON Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

St Mary dancing competition promotes diabetes awareness in schools

Monday, April 14, 2014    

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WITH a large number of children worldwide developing lifestyle diseases, the St Mary Health Services in collaboration with the Health Education/Promotion division in the parish recently hosted a diabetes dance and essay competition.

Several primary and high schools from across the parish participated in the competition aimed at promoting physical activities among children.

Speaking at last week's award ceremony to culminate this season of the competition, Health Education Officer Pauline Steele-Davis said the competition took hard work and dedication even as she lauded the teachers who took the time to prepare the students.

According to Steele-Davis dancing is more than just entertainment, but a way of promoting physical activity.

The quality of performance and essays done by the students were also very high, according to acting medical officer and Chronic Diseases and Injuries Coordinator Dr Julia Rowe-Porter.

Director of Health Education and Promotion in the Ministry of Health Takese Foga also commended the efforts of the students.

"Your energy and creativity, the talent which you have shown is to be commended," Foga said.

Director of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health Dr Tamu Davidson-Saddler, who was guest speaker at the event, commended the organisers for hosting the competition. Although fewer young people have diabetes than adults, Davidson-Saddler said children getting diabetes due to lifestyle is now a major concern.

On Thursday, several schools showed those attending the ceremony the creativity and talent which went into the pieces. Dances were used to dramatise the causes of diabetes, prevention methods and the treatment of the illness.

The school which walked away with the first place award in the dance competition was New Orange Hill Primary School. The institution won several sectional prizes which included best message and content. Second place went to Highgate Primary and Junior High which was also awarded for creativity and originality, while Water Valley Primary placed third.

In the essay competition Camberwell Primary emerged champions in group one as student Breanna Nolan was acknowledged for the quality of her essay. Breanna proposed that a day be dedicated to fruits and vegetables at her school as a way of promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Devon Pen Primary was second in that group while New Orange Hillplaced third. In the second group, Brimmervale High School emerged winners while Long Road Primary was the victor in group three.

The event was sponsored by several businesses in St Mary along with political representatives from the parish.

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