Tacius Golding High students get lessons on healthy lifestyle
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said that a school nutrition policy has been sent to lawmakers and is expected to be enacted soon.
“The policy is at an advanced stage to help fully regulate the industry,” he said at the June 2 commemoration of National Nutrition Day at the Tacius Golding High School in St Catherine West Central.
Tufton said that 90 per cent of hospital admissions of young people in the public health system was linked to consumption. Tacius Golding High School is among 100 schools that are under the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ programme Jamaica Moves, which is designed to maximise proper nutrition and exercise for children.
CONTROL SUGARY CONTENT
Principal Lena Russell told The Gleaner that the school was supportive of nutrition awareness.
“We have four employees dedicated to provide for the students weekly, and with 75 per cent of the 1,100 students on Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education, there is a need for proper monitoring,” Russell said.
“We have enlisted a number of HEART trainees, who are involved in food and nutrition, to assist in the process.”
The day’s activities saw nutritionists showcasing products and explaining the importance of appropriate servings. “I am very pleased with the knowledge gained here today,” said Magnus Thomas, a student. “I didn’t know [there is] so much salt in banana chips, and how sweet the sodas were.”
Nutritionist Melinda Henry said that work is being done to control the serving of sugary content to the children. “We are doing all the due diligence to regulate the supply of products in the schools’ canteens within the parish,” she said. “We are also responsible for diets for students in schools, both private and public; it is a work in progress.”
Henry, who holds a masters in public health nutrition, said the lack of vegetables in meals was a major challenge to balanced nutrition.
Training and education nutritionist Naulette Reddie said the aim of the campaign is to foster a culture of exercise and proper nutrition, especially among students.
“One of our aims is to create awareness about sodium and sugary intake, and we are pleased to see how the students gravitate towards the illustrations,” Reddie said. “We now await the National School Nutrition Policy to strengthen the guidelines, while we work incrementally to achieve the desired results.”
The function, which was held under the theme ‘Healthy Eating, Healthy Living’, saw parents and guardians benefiting from lectures on economic choices when shopping.
Tacius Golding High School, the only secondary school in St Catherine West Central, is named after the late former Speaker of the House of Representatives and member of parliament for St Catherine West Central from 1949 to 1972. He is the father of Bruce Golding, former prime minister.