Obesity prevention program kicks-off in August

POSTED: 06/19/12 11:45 AM

St. Maarten – The Ministry of Public Health Social Development & Labor Section General Public Health recently presented their obesity Prevention Program to a group of stakeholders in the form of a nutrition and physical education program, which is to kick-off for the 2012/2013 school year. Swinda Richardson, Nutritionist at General Public Health and David Forsythe, Physical Education Coordinator at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sports made the presentation.
Also making a presentation at the event was Dr. Danielle Hollar, a consultant for Obesity Prevention Programming, Research and Evaluation, who made a presentation on “The Organwise Guys” Comprehensive School Program, which focuses on improving children’s health and academic performance.
Thirty children of cycle 2 of each school will be participating in this breakfast program. The schools participating in this program are the Oranje School, Sister Marie Laurence and Hillside Christian School. These schools were specifically chosen because research showed that the children at these schools were not having breakfast regularly. Research shows that children who do not have a good breakfast usually have problems concentrating in class.
In addition, the teachers will also be consulted to inquire if there is any progress in the children as it relates to their grades and general participation in class. The breakfast menu will include fruits, dairy products, vegetables etc. The menu will be nutritional balanced with foods from four food groups; dairy, grains, meats, fruits/vegetables.
“It is important for us to see how the children will respond to the items on the menu, we will switch it up as much as possible, by offering a variety weekly,” Richardson said.
The menu will be rotated weekly. An example of the menu will be tuna sandwiches, ham and cheese sandwiches, turkey sandwiches all with lettuce and tomato; peanut butter sandwiches; cereal; hardboiled eggs; yoghurt; milk; 100% fruit juice; milk and water.
The program will be evaluated at the end of the 2012/2013 school year.
“We hope by 2013/2014 school year to expand the program to other schools, and we encourage others to take it up,” Richardson said.
“It is a great program that, if it is executed properly, will have a positive outcome especially for the children,” Minister of Public Health Social Development and Labor Cornelius De Weever said.
The Ministry of Public Health Social Development & Labor will fund the breakfast program to a tune of 90, 000 guilders and the Ministry of Education, Culture Youth & Sports will fund the physical education part of the program. The project has been presented to the respective schools’ managers and community project coordinators.

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