By Noimot Olayiwola/Staff Reporter
The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) will on Sunday introduce the ‘We are Healthy Kids’ initiative among fifth graders in all Independent Primary Schools across the country.
A pilot programme was successfully implemented among students in select government schools over the past two academic years.
The initiative will cover more than 10,000 fifth grade students across a total of 91 Independent Primary Schools during the 2012/2013 school year.
It is expected that the programme will soon be extended to all private schools in the country.
“We are launching this health promoting programme in all government schools during this school year with certain changes done according to the results of the final evaluation from last year,” SCH Public Health Department director Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani said yesterday.
The official emphasised that the initiative was being considered as “a national project and a pillar of health promotion in Qatar because it is being implemented with the aim of developing the Qatari society”.
‘We are Healthy Kids’ aims at raising a healthy generation by inculcating the importance of healthy living in students.
In its pilot during the 2010/2011 school year, at least 15 schools were included and around 35 schools have participated in the activities during 2011/2012 with special focus on nutrition, oral health, obesity, diabetes and physical activities.
SCH Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases section director Dr Alanoud al-Thani explained that the overall aim of the programme was to inculcate a healthy lifestyle among fifth graders at the primary level in order to increase their awareness about selection of food and healthy beverage as well as physical activities in school and at home aside encouraging them to be able to practice these healthy behaviours for life.
This year, we have updated the programme based on the results of the final evaluation of the previous years and feedback and suggestions that were raised by participating schools,” she said.
The official said that marked improvement and change in attitude towards unhealthy behaviour was noticed among students who have taken part in the event, adding that a survey about the programme would soon begin among the present sixth graders, who were participants last year.
According to Dr Alanoud al-Thani, activities under the programme this year will be held over a period of eight weeks with each week having its own theme, in the following order: ‘Your Health and Your diet,’ ‘Healthy Snacks’, ‘Water and Health’, ‘Choose your Favourite Sport’, ‘Healthy Sleeping’, ‘Your Food and the Health of Your Teeth’, ‘Tobacco Free Life’, ‘Confident Steps Towards Change’.
‘We are Healthy Kids’, piloted in collaboration with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) in 2010, is now being sponsored by Maersk Oil Qatar under its Action on Diabetes initiative alongside the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and also in collaboration with the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC).
Action on Diabetes is a partnership between Maersk Oil Qatar, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Diabetes Association, PHCC and Novo Nordisk.
“We are partnering with Action on Diabetes because it already has programmes highlighting risk factors for non-communicable diseases, which occur due to unhealthy habits, lack of physical activities and use of tobacco products,” Dr Alanoud al-Thani said.
The official mentioned that some 40 schools will next week be taking part in workshops related to the initiative.
Also present at the press briefing were QF HSSE Directorate Business Support director Amal al-Thani and PHCC Health Promotion manager Yousra Hamad Bagadi.