Description of Program
This Program is interactive skills based approach to health and nutrition which will focus on the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to make and carry out positive health decisions.
This program will have activities for students and teachers in nutrition and physical activity which will encourage family and student participation.
Target Group for Program This target group is primary school children from Standard 4 classes in the Corozal Town district. (9 Schools) Program will be implemented first in Corozal district and then followed in other districts Rationale for target group: Children are at an ideal pubertal age and they wont be distracted by preparations exams such as PSE examinations. This is a pilot program done in the town schools of the Corozal district.
Two to three teachers from each school participated in a Wellness & Weight Loss Initiative, which will run in conjunction with the FRIEND PROGRAM . They will receive nutrition counseling and have a gym access in order to become healthier and lose weight. They receive incentives, evaluations and further nutrition counselling at the monthly weigh ins.
Duration for Program
The FRIEND program had a duration of 5 months. It was launched in October 2009 under the theme: “Love that Body… Love that Mind”, which was developed in September 2009 in collaboration for Caribbean Wellness Week and the program concluded in February 2010.
The Friend Program Evaluation
On May 7th the FRIEND Program Evaluation Exercise was held in Corozal Town at the IT VET Center.
The FRIEND Program was an initiative developed by Hon Pablo Marin ( Min of Health) to promote nutrition and physical activity in schools. The pilot project was held among 9 primary schools within Corozal Town and lasted 5 months (Oct 2009 – Feb 2010) The program compiled interactive activities to promote nutrition such as designing Health areas in the classrooms, developing plant pots, and learning about health food preparation. Activities designed to promote physical activity included mini Sports day, Walkathon and Chore Day to do at home with family members. There was even a Wellness and Weight loss Challenge among teachers from all the schools involved. Schools were encouraged to practice wellness and good nutrition and awarded incentives for participation and competiveness.
At the beginning of the program, 317 students’ height and weight were measured, and Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated. The same measurements were done at the end of the program to note comparisons. Findings at the start of the program showed that 59% of students were within normal height and weight ( BMI), 14% were in the overweight status , 12% were of obese status and 15% were in the underweight status. Findings 5 months later indicated that 60% of students were in normal status, 15% in overweight status, 11% in obese status and 14% in underweight status. Twenty five teachers participated in the wellness program. Their height, weight, blood pressure and blood sugar measurements were taken at the start and end of program. They were offered exercise classes and nutrition advice and encouraged to implement these within their lifestyles. Small incentives were also awarded for notable achievements. At the end of the program more teachers were within normal weight for height, and normal blood pressure and blood sugar ranges.
After the program evaluation it was evident that the program had a positive impact on both students and teachers in terms of health and nutrition and there are plans to implement aspects of this program into a national venture.