CPS urges parents and guardians to prepare healthy school snacks

POSTED: 01/6/12 4:56 PM

St. Maarten – Collective Prevention Services (CPS), executing agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, has strongly recommended parents and guardians start preparing healthy snacks for their children this year. Parents are also advised to live and promote a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular intake of water, physical exercise and sport activities, because children’s behavior is often shaped by observation and adaptation.
“Improving the nutritional status of school-age children is an effective investment for improving educational outcomes of school children for the New Year. Establishing healthy dietary and physical activity patterns among young people thereby promotes health and nutritional well-being and preventing obesity and various non-communicable diseases. In making healthy foods and beverages available at home and for school, and in providing, supporting and encouraging opportunities for physical activity, parents can influence their children’s behavior,” the agency stated in a release.

The push to promote healthy living is based on the fact that overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions globally and both developed and developing countries are seriously affected. In some countries, the epidemic of obesity sits alongside continuing problems of under nutrition, creating a double-burden of nutrition-related ill health among the population, including children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) nutrition related health problems in children are increasingly significant causes of disability and premature death worldwide.

he St. Maarten Health Study, “How Healthy is St. Maarten,?” indicated that on a daily basis 31 per cent of the participants don’t consume breakfast; 63 per cent don’t consume vegetables and 66 per cent don’t consume fruits. This is an indication that this lifestyle is also practice by their descendants.

Tips for children and adolescents include provide healthy breakfast before each school day; don’t leave home without breakfast; serve healthy school snacks to children (whole-grain, vegetables, fruits); promote the intake of fruits and vegetables. Restrict intake of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods (e.g. packaged snacks); restrict intake of sugars-sweetened soft drinks; ensure an opportunity for family meals; provide information and skills to make healthy food choices.

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