|Health and Education Ministers Endorse Health Promoting Schools Initiative for Caribbean Wellness Day|
|Thursday, 06 September 2012 00:00|
Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson has joined with his ministerial colleague, Education Minister Hon. Reverend Ronald Thwaites, to combat growing obesity and the rise of non communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes among Jamaica’s school children through their support of the health promoting schools initiative. A health promoting school is defined as one that strengthens its capacity as a healthy environment for living, learning and working. Under this initiative the plan is for all schools to be established as health promoting schools.
Speaking against the background of Caribbean Wellness Day to be observed this Saturday, September 8, 2012, under the theme, “Healthy Schools Make Healthy Communities that Build Healthy Countries”, Minister Ferguson noted that the Ministry of Health has over the years put in place initiatives aimed at addressing NCD risk factors such as unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful alcohol use. He explained that his Ministry is working with the Education Ministry to focus on children due to the growing tendency towards unhealthy habits among this group. He said these practices may not only negatively impact their physical health but also their mental and spiritual health.
Dr. Ferguson noted that the health promoting schools initiative was geared towards empowering schools to facilitate healthy choices and subsequently the development of healthy behavior from a young age.
“These diseases are not age specific and also affect children and adolescents. It is therefore fitting that this year the focus of Caribbean Wellness Day is on health promoting schools. This sends a poignant message to stem the culture of negative lifestyle practices from a very young age so that we can reap the rewards of the future,” said Minister Ferguson.
Meanwhile, Minister Thwaites has announced that physical education is to become mandatory in schools and no longer an optional extra. He also noted that children needed to be examined for emotional health as well as physical health.
Minister Thwaites bemoaned what he termed the “bag juice and cheez trix culture” while urging parents to ensure that their children were served healthier foods such as porridge.
As part of the observance of Caribbean Wellness Day 2012, the Health Ministry along with its partners will be hosting a national event on Saturday, September 8, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the St. William Grant Park in Down Town, Kingston. There will be over 20 display booths, free health checks, prizes and surprises as well as numerous other activities promoting healthy lifestyle practices. Admission is free and members of the public are being urged to come out with their children and support the day’s activities.
Contact: MOH, Public Relations Unit Tel: 967-1561
You can view this press release and other information on our website atwww.moh.gov.jm