Marceleen Wheatle – Regional Health and Education Promotion Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marceleen Wheatle, addresses a recent JIS Think Tank
The Ministry of Health will be training and appointing student ambassadors to help push and practice healthy lifestyles in their schools under the Jamaica Moves initiative.
The ‘schoolers’ will be charged with passing on the message of healthy lifestyle to their peers. The initiative was recently launched in pilot schools across the island.
Speaking with JIS News, Regional Health and Education Promotion Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marceleen Wheatle, said that the move to appoint student ambassadors is part of the Ministry’s thrust to get more students to engage in physical activity and healthy eating.
“What we have done is to develop criteria that will help us to do the selection (of the ambassadors). These students must demonstrate a willingness to practise a healthy lifestyle and promote same within their schools, be respectable to peers and teachers, be responsible, command respect and also to be disciplined,” she indicated.
She said that the intention is to increase the number of students engaging in a moderate level of physical activity and making healthier food choices by five percent over the next five years.
“We want to increase the number of schools that would have documented students who are at risk for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), so that they will be able to have their regular health checks. The Ministry will be keeping track of these students,” Ms. Wheatle added.
She said the Ministry wants to implement one-hour physical-activity sessions in participating schools at least once per week.
The Ministry of Health will host a camp for the high-school ambassadors in the western region from November 9 to 11 at the Caribbean School for the Deaf in Granville, St. James. Eight students and two teachers will be selected from each of the 10 pilot high schools in the region to attend the camp.
By: Franklin McKnight