Several students, teachers are now trained health ambassadors
Two hundred and twelve students and 52 teachers from the parishes of Clarendon, St Elizabeth and Manchester are now trained ambassadors who will strengthen the capacity of their schools to become a healthier setting for working and learning.
One hundred and seventeen students and 25 teachers from 29 high schools were trained, while 95 students and 25 teachers were trained from 14 primary schools. The ambassadors were trained as part of the Jamaica Moves in Schools programme, which is a partnership between the ministries of health and education.
Regional health education and promotion officer at the Southern Regional Health Authority, Faith Lyttle, explained that as ambassadors, the students and teachers will now strengthen the health capacity of their schools through a programme designed by the ministries of health and education.
“They will do this through several initiatives and by following the guidelines of the designed programme. The schools will host fruit days, water days and vegetable days and will also have three five-minute physical activity breaks daily. There is also a one-hour physical activity session, which will be done once per week. The programme also encourages schools to follow the Government’s policy which restricts certain types of sugary drinks in schools,” Lyttle explained.
The health education and promotion officer noted that a teacher at each of the participating 43 schools is assigned to strengthen the school’s health advisory committee, which will steer the programme. She added that ambassadors will encourage their peers through small groups to make healthier lifestyle changes.
The Jamaica Moves in Schools programme aims to increase the number of students engaging in moderate level of physical activity by five per cent; increase the number of students that make healthier food choices by five per cent; increase the number of schools that have integrated identification of at-risk students for non-communicable diseases and facilitate appropriate intervention by 20 per cent from baseline.
The ambassadors were trained in three phases at overnight camps, which focused on the importance of healthy eating, physical activity and screening.