St Lucia: As part of its efforts to educate students on the benefits of physical activity, the Nutrition Unit recently visited the Patience Mon Repos Combined School. It engaged the students in educational talks and fun-filled physical activities.
Chief Nutritionist Lisa Hunt said this initiative is necessary and believes making physical activity fun and creative will encourage students to continue exercising and remain healthy.
“We realized that children are very inactive. Especially as the summer is just around the corner, we want to encourage them to be more physical activity. Whatever we are teaching them here today is that we want them to know that physical activity doesn’t always have to be in proper structure. You can have fun activities; for example, today we did hula hoop, hop pooch, skip with them, and several activities that they quickly enjoyed.”
Hunt also spoke on the importance of promoting physical activity among students at an early age to assist in addressing the increasing global burden of chronic diseases.
“Physical activity plays a key role in preventing obesity, and we have a high rate of childhood obesity around the Caribbean, including Saint Lucia. So not only will physical activity help them to maintain a healthy weight, but it will help in decreasing the risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancers. These are the health conditions that Saint Lucia has so much morbidity or mortality. If we start from a very early stage, we are able to curb these conditions.”
Two students from the Patience Mon Repos Combined School shared their experiences with this activity.
Student Brianne Brice said, “We played a game called dodgeball. It was very fun, and I enjoyed seeing some of the students trying very hard. It is very important to exercise to keep you healthy and in shape.”
Student Merlan Norbert agreed, “It was a very exciting experience for everybody, including me. We need to do physical activity to keep our body working, strong and active every day.”
The Nutrition Unit will continue the physical activity sessions in other schools around the island.