The Ellerslie Secondary School has signed on to the petition which seeks to curb childhood obesity among the youth of Barbados.
The initiative was launched this week as a part of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s celebrations for World Obesity Day celebrated each year on October 11.
Healthy Caribbean Coalition Communication (HCC) and Advocacy Officer for Childhood Obesity Prevention Francine Charles said that HCC had embarked on a call to action for all levels of society to commit to leading healthier lifestyles.
“It calls for [everyone] to say and commit and do things that will lead to healthier lifestyles in the Caribbean as well as to ensure childhood obesity prevention – that also includes governments, parents and students,” Charles said, adding that the school outreach seeks to help children understand why childhood obesity is a serious issue which can impact negatively on their lives.
“The school outreach will continue for the next two months. What we are aiming to do in a very short interactive session is to target all the schools that accept and can really and truly focus and, in an interactive way, help children understand obesity is a real issue for their lives, for their future and what they can do to ensure a healthier lifestyle,” Charles said.
Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Professor Anne St John said she was pleased to join the HCC in curbing the worrying epidemic of childhood obesity as the statistics are alarming with one in three students in Barbados being obese.
“Reports from seven Eastern Caribbean countries showed that between 2000 and 2010, the rates of overweight and obesity in children aged zero to four years doubled from 7.4 per cent to 14.8 per cent. Other Caribbean studies have also shown that approximately one-third of children are overweight and obese,” St Johns said, adding that persons normally think of obesity in adults but more and more children are being diagnosed as obese at an early age.
“Chronic Diseases (NCD’s) affect growth and psycho-social development during adolescence and eventually compromise the quality of life and lifespan and account for nearly eight out of ten deaths in Barbados. There is a significant cost to the island and the Caribbean through diseases linked to obesity such as diabetes and hypertension every year,” St John said.
St John also asked the students to recite that they will, “increase levels of physical activity in schools and at home by the re-introduction of periods of compulsory physical activity and by not allowing [the] advertising and promotion of junk foods in schools.”
At the end of the event, students and teachers signed the call to action petition which was first launched at the St Michael School. (LG)