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Barbados wants obese children to get active

Regional 13 Mar, 2024 Follow News

Barbados is tackling its school obesity problem

Barbados marked World Obesity Day on Monday, 4 March with a new initiative in schools to help children counter health and weight problems.

Creative Play, a new initiative from the Pan American Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health and Wellness of Barbados, addresses the growing issue of overweight and obesity in children through projects to encourage physical activity in schools.

According to data from a school health study in Barbados, 30 percent of school children are either overweight or obese. Increasingly sedentary lifestyles are a key driver of this as well as a growing popularity of junk food. The Creative Play Initiative aims to tackle this through the implementation of life-sized versions of children’s games, such as Snakes and Ladders, to encourage more physical activity at school.

“Not all children are interested in competitive sports, but most children enjoy playing and having fun,” Donna Barker of the Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness, and creator of the Creative Play Initiative, said.

“While on social media, I came across several videos showing colourful and stimulating obstacle courses drawn onto yards or play areas for children. I thought this could be introduced in Barbadian primary schools as a creative way for children to stay active since that is where they spend most of the day.”

Two schools were chosen to pilot the initiative which will be rolled out to the whole island if successful.

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