The Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) has launched a regional wellness programme for adolescents, geared towards empowering and encouraging participants aged 10 to 15 years, to become ambassadors of healthy lifestyles through healthy diets, physical activity and screening.
Labelled Camp HELPS-‘Healthy Eating Lifestyle Physical Activity and Screening’, the initiative was launched on Monday, July 10 at the Golf View Hotel in Manchester and has engaged 94 adolescents from Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth. The participants will be trained over a one week period.
According to Regional Health Education and Promotion Officer at the SRHA, Mrs. Faith Lyttle, the initiative is being used as an intervention to teach the participants about the importance of healthier diets, physical activity and screening, as a tool to prevent, reduce and control chronic non-communicable diseases.
“Ultimately these participants will be filtered into their respective schools as peer counsellors that will strengthen the HYPE-Healthy Youth Positive Energy health initiative, which is part of the Ministry of Health’s healthy school programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. The participants will be equipped with basic knowledge to spread the health care message of proper nutritional behaviour and regular physical activity which is aligned to the Jamaica Moves campaign” Mrs. Lyttle explained.
The Health Education and Promotion Officer pointed out that adolescents are considered the priority population for intervention strategies because weight loss in adulthood is difficult in addition to the exposure to their natural environments such as school, which influences their diets and participation in physical activity.
“This programme aims to use a multidimensional approach to foster the decline in the amount of individuals that progress into adulthood with the susceptibility of developing a chronic non-communicable disease and as such directly reduce morbidity and mortality rates” Mrs. Lyttle added.
At the end of the camp, each camper will receive a kit with physical activity tools, meal and work out plans, as a means of encouragement and motivation to continue making healthy lifestyle choices. The participants will also receive certificates and badges.