Childhood Obesity Prevention

The Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health stated that “Children are one third of our population and all of our future.” This is so very true. It is then no surprise that childhood obesity is a major public health concern for Rotary, both regionally and globally. Over the past few years, it has become a special area of focus for the Rotary Club of Barbados West.

It is most likely that obese children will continue to be obese during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, unless there is early intervention. Studies show that there is a link between childhood obesity and the increased risk of non-communicable diseases.

The RCOBW joined in the national initiative to tackle childhood obesity through its specifically designed programs. In collaboration with District 7030, there are 3 main goals:

· Reduce the incidence of childhood obesity in our communities.

· Reduce chronic disease and cancer;

· Instill healthy lifestyle behaviors from a young age.

Club members believe that early intervention is the best course of addressing this problem. We hope, in this way, to encourage positive habits of exercise and diet in our children which will continue into adulthood. Our first project in 2021 invited children in the community to participate in an online RCOBW campaign “No-Sugar-November Challenge”. That campaign encouraged children to reduce consumption of sugary foods and beverages as well as to exercise in the hope of sparking change.

Our Rotary Club has long supported a daily Breakfast Feeding Program at the Good Shepherd Primary School. During the 2021/22 program year, the Club’s Childhood Obesity Prevention and Breakfast Club Committee redesigned the school’s breakfast menu, with a focus on healthier meal options in order to ensure that students start the day with more nutritious meals. The menu continues to be revised on an annual basis.

As a further expansion of this project, in the 2023/24 program year the Club helped to sponsor the island wide Healthy Living Expo and also partnered with Sandy Crest / Coverly Medical Centre to provide health and wellness screenings to students, staff and parents at the Good Shepherd Primary School.

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