Through a donation from the Massy Foundation, the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados’ (HSFB) Teenage Kicks Yute Gym programme will be able to purchase exercise equipment and supplies to help improve the health and well-being of overweight and obese youth from eight to 18 years old.
Director and Treasurer of Massy Foundation Christina Johnson recently presented a cheque to Chief Executive Officer of the Heart & Stroke Foundation Fiona Anthony and paediatric consultant Professor Anne St John, a director and mentor of the two-year-old programme.
“Firstly, I wish to commend the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados for the steps it is taking in the fight against chronic non-communicable diseases, and its specific interest in childhood obesity,” Johnson said.
“The Massy Foundation is equally concerned about such national health issues. We believe that a healthier citizen and, by extension, a nation, is central to human happiness, well-being and is an important contributor to productivity and economic progress. It is against this background that we ascribe such attention and value to this area as a corporate charitable entity,” she added.
She also expressed the Massy Foundation’s wholehearted endorsement and support for the Yute Gym initiative which sees participants attending a two-and-a-half-hour session on Saturday mornings.
“We hope our financial support will [help] the Heart & Stroke Foundation [achieve] the kind of behavioural change and tangible outcomes expected for this target group through this programme,” Johnson added.
The programme offers “a safe, age-appropriate environment to exercise” and monitors the weight, body mass index, and blood pressure of participants who can be referred by their paediatricians, general practitioners, nurses, teachers or concerned health care professionals. The parent-education component equips parents with nutritional advice and offers demonstrations on how to prepare healthy meals for their children.
Also representing the Massy Foundation was Gillian Corbin of the Advisory Committee who underscored the importance of preserving our children’s health: “We are ever mindful that children are the future and therefore every effort must be made to safeguard their health and general well-being. In addition, with today’s child, it is no longer enough to simply say, ‘do as I say’ when it comes to compliance. Rather, we need unified approaches that are interactive, fun and empowering so that they can also take equal responsibility and become more accountable for their own choices.”
Both the CEO and paediatric consultant thanked the Massy Foundation for its donation. Professor St John noted there was increased interest in the programme and said they were looking to triple the intake from 60 participants as well as to involve schools, churches, community organizations, and the ministries of education, health and wellness, and youth.
The presentation was made at the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Jemmotts Lane, St Michael offices. (PR)