Government and Delta Petroleum collaborate to improve eating habits

(SKNIS): The My Healthy Plate Project which has the objective of fostering balanced eating habits among the children of St. Kitts and Nevis has received the financial support of Delta Petroleum to the tune of $5,575, this morning (November 14).

During a brief cheque handing over ceremony, Bevis Sylvester, Delta Regional General Manager said that healthy children positively impacted his company’s customer-base.

“The Managing Director Mr. Vernon Lake was with me on that day and he said to me, Bevis you have to find the money to be a part of this programme, because the kids are so important,” Mr. Sylvester said. “Delta’s philosophy in this society and every society is that we have to be community-minded and we have to find the students wherever they are and market to the students, because the students of today are really our customers of tomorrow. And if these customers of tomorrow are healthy, we’re sure in this society that we’re going to have long, long standing, youths that have transformed to adults and to healthy elderly people.”

Acting Deputy Chief Education Officer, Daryll Lloyd, thanked Delta for its contribution.

“Whenever we have persons who have a vested interest in our children, of course we jump on board. We are glad that you recognize that the future of our nation depends heavily on our children, and it is important for us to have healthy children. As a matter of fact, I particularly like the saying that says “A healthy nation depends heavily on our children being healthy.” And so we are glad that the Ministry of Health has partnered with Education in this meaningful and productive exercise. We are glad that you have come on board and so we say thank you very much for this timely and meaningful contribution.”

Latoya Matthew-Duncan explained that the My Healthy Plate Project has phases that had pre-events such as a mascot competition that resulted in the Healthy Heather Mascot that was created by Shannan Christian of the Saddlers Secondary School. There are also three components that will begin in January once the programme commences in the pilot schools in the Federation.

“The My Plate Programme has three components to it. The first component will be getting data and anthropometric measurements, the weight, the height, the BMI (Body Mass Index) of children, so we can actually assess whether or not this intervention made an impact. So we are going to be going into the schools and doing some measurement of the children. Then the second component to it, we are going to do education sessions, classroom time, where we are going to be teaching them about portion sizes; how to choose healthier meals; healthier food options, how to limit salt, sugars and fats within their meals. This will be done for children in grade three to six in selected primary schools.”

Mrs. Matthew-Duncan further outlined that the sessions in schools will in the first instance run from January to December 2017 and will observe this group of children throughout its primary school years. The third component involves the use of the My Plate Activity booklet which will be used to assess the children to find out how much they have learnt. The children will also get a My Place placemat which shows exact portions of the food groups on a pictorial plate.

It was revealed that going into primary schools will become an annual occurrence particularly for Grades 3 to 6 students. Delta Regional LPG Manager Raphael Payne and Delta Island Manager Robert Liburd also gave brief remarks at the cheque handing over.

A similar initiative is taking place via the Ministry of Health in the Nevis Island Administration and it is coordinated by Nadine Caines, National AIDS Programme Coordinator with responsibility for the Health Promotion Unit.

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