Fighting Childhood Obesity
The Children's Health Task Force (CHTF) Health4Youth Programme has begun the second year in the 2 year pilot program which was designed to help fight childhood obesity in the Cayman Islands.
"The CHTF team is very pleased with the progress of the program to date," says Maureen Cubbon, one of the Program Coordinators. "We saw some great success at the end of year 1 the have seen the direction we need to take in order to continue the program successfully."
The Health4Youth Programme was originally created by a collaborated effort between the Cayman Heart Fund, Generali Worldwide, TrinCay Medical, Rotary Sunrise, Cayman Islands Health Services Authority and Body Sculptor. The goal of the program is to create holistic approach towards fighting childhood obesity by working with a pilot group of students in the 2009-2010 year seven class at George Hicks Campus.
175 children out of approximately 400 were indentified in the Year 7 class in the 85% and 95% percentile of Body Mass Index (BMI). 146 students were actively engaged in the program through the school year, which included nutritional counseling and an afterschool exercise program.
Feedback from the students included things like increased energy, improved sleep, increased sense of self esteem, motivation to continue exercise & join other sports, improved stamina and that they looked forward to participating every week.
Another great achievement of the Health4Youth Programme was the development of the Standards for Food Provisions (CISFP) in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health.
The CISFP document stipulates the healthier meal options that must be offered during lunch and snack breaks in government school canteens. It also bans fast food delivery or consumption while students are on campus. The document lists 11 standards as guidelines for the different types of food groups and details items that should and shouldn't be served in school. It also outlines the frequency with which certain foods should be offered. Serving- and good practice suggestions are also outlined.
"Poor childhood nutrition can have lasting effects, impairing cognitive development and school performance," Education Minister, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP stated. "This is our opportunity to make a measurable difference in student health and well-being. Research consistently shows that children who eat healthier meals perform better academically and are absent from classes less often."
"The goal for this year is to continue with the pilot group of students and work on engaging parents more and also take a continued "out of the box" approach when it comes to promoting health and wellness with the youth of Cayman" say Mrs. Cubbon.
"With the continued support of our sponsors -Walkers Global and Walkers Charitable Foundation, Cayman Heart Fund, Rotary Sunrise, Rotary Grand Cayman, Pink Ladies, Lions Club Tropical Gardens, CIREBA, Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, The Ministry of Health and The Ministry of Education - we are able to continue this critical program that will give us some tangible results and some direction on how to fight the rising epidemic of childhood obesity in the Cayman Islands."