The Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Antigua are partnering with the Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) to host a school-based Childhood Obesity Project.
The aim of this initiative is to create awareness among children, underscoring the importance of eating healthy foods and engaging in daily physical exercise.
The programme targets five- to nine year-olds and is being piloted in six government schools: Villa, Cedar Grove, S.R. Olivia David, Seaview Farm, Mary E. Pigott, and Jennings Primary Schools.
The launch was held at the Rotary House on Monday, March 22, in recognition of World Water Day, and the organizers say that “Oasis Water will sponsor to each child a bottle of water, as the beverage of choice, for the project.”
Meanwhile “the Central Marketing Corporation will assist with the fruits and vegetables vouchers to parents. They will also provide seedlings for the backyard gardening initiative,” the organizers add.
A recent study has suggested that the Caribbean has the highest number of people, per capita, suffering from obesity. Accordingly, Dorothy Charles, Nutrition Manager at MBS, explains why such a project is important in tackling the disease here.
Since obesity leads to more serious diseases, she says that educating school children on prevention measures is vital.
Charles says the MBS has conducted several health initiatives in various schools, and she is hoping that this obesity-prevention project will be launched in other institutions.
It is a good avenue to get the message out, she says, and notes that children are often quite receptive to the messages.
The Nutrition Manager says the Medical Benefits Scheme is pleased to be partnering with both clubs on an important issue like this.