Youth Department promotes healthy eating to students

SKNIS Photo: Students at the Sandy Point Primary School during session with Dr. Vance Gilbert

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 29, 2013 (SKNIS): The Department of Youth Empowerment in St. Kitts has expanded its health-related awareness campaign to include obesity.

Youth Officer Kristen Hendrickson said that it was very important to address this topic given that more and more children in schools are being classified as obese – a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.

Ms. Hendrickson partnered with the District Medical Officer for the Challengers to Sandy Point area, Dr. Vance Gilbert who facilitated four “Healthy Food Workshops” which ran from January 21 to 24. More than 160 students from the Newton Ground, Sandy Point, Tyrell Williams and the Edgar T. Morris Primary Schools participated in the one day sessions.

During his presentation dubbed “Save Our Children: One Healthy Food at a Time” Dr. Gilbert discussed the importance of fruits and vegetables to any diet, particularly that of a child and spoke of the necessary portions required. He also highlighted key food groups noting the need for a balanced meal and good eating habits.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you should always start your day with something healthy,” he advised the students. “Lunch should be balanced while supper should be the smallest meal and not too late in the evening.”

The district medical officer congratulated the Newton Ground Primary School for designating a fruit and water day every Monday and encouraged others to follow suit.

Several students shared opinions on ways to get peers to eat healthier. These ranged from improving cooking and presentation styles, rising market prices of unhealthy foods, and celebrity endorsements as most young people are influenced by these personalities.

Youth Officer Hendrickson expressed pleasure with the interactive workshops which challenged the students to be a part of the solution in reducing obesity. She noted that the Department of Youth Empowerment will continue to coordinate similar workshops addressing different topics.

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