The Human Nutrition Department (HND) at the College of Health Sciences (CHS), a member of QU-Health at Qatar University (QU), has announced the success of the ongoing Smart Start campaign in primary school classrooms.

The nutrition education programme is aimed at promoting healthy eating and an active lifestyle among schoolchildren in Qatar, addressing the growing concern of childhood obesity and its long-term health implications.

Childhood obesity has become a major health problem, affecting children’s physical health, social and emotional well-being, and self-esteem.

Fostering healthy habits and encouraging physical activity from an early age will reduce the risk of chronic diseases and obesity-related complications later in life.

During the spring semester, HND students have been actively engaging with primary students, delivering a range of interactive activities related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle.

Recently, 150 children participated in the programme at Al Khor International School.

The activities addressed several main areas, such as understanding food groups and MyPlate guidelines, creating nutritious lunchboxes, raising awareness of the harmful effects of sugar, and encouraging an active lifestyle.

In the first activity, children were introduced to food groups, learning about healthier options within each group.

The kids matched different food items to their respective food groups, enhancing their understanding of proper nutrition. In the following activity, children had the opportunity to apply the learned concepts by creating their own lunchbox, using a variety of food models to compose an optimal meal.

The campaign also shed light on the detrimental effects of excessive sugar consumption.

Through interactive games, children estimated the amount of sugar present in commonly consumed food items and beverages, raising their awareness of the importance of making healthier choices.
Furthermore, the Smart Start programme emphasised the value of regular physical activity in everyday life.

Children participated in exercises and games, highlighting the benefits of being physically active for optimal growth and development.

HND head Dr Maya Bassil said: “By targeting schoolchildren at this young age, the Smart Start campaign highlights the importance of investing in preventative measures and fostering a culture of healthy food and lifestyle choices early on in life to support a brighter and healthier future for the next generations.”
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