Students take health challenge seriously

Top Stories

Students take health challenge seriously

Abdulla Mohammed, 11, and Mohammed Salem, 10, learned the bad effects of unhealthy foods from their school. And both vowed that they would reduce their junk food intake and are now eating more vegetables and fruits.


Olivia Olarte-Ulherr

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 8 Jun 2012, 9:04 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 11:54 AM

“These are not healthy — Pepsi, chocolates, lollipops, and potato chips. And these are the healthy ones — fruits, vegetables and fish,” Abdulla said pointing to their poster at an exhibition, which displayed the food items in separate columns.

“We need to eat these (healthy foods) to keep our health,” Mohammed stated.

“Healthy foods will decrease obesity, help in keeping a healthy lifestyle, healthy teeth and bones,” the boys from Al Mostaqbal School said. Their school was one of the 34 that participated at this year’s ‘Abu Dhabi Schools for Health Challenge’, a school-based programme that promotes healthy student lifestyle and healthy school environment.

The concept of promoting health at schools was adopted by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and the Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD) from the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an effective tool in health promotion which, in turn, boosts overall learning. This concept is widely implemented in schools around the world.

The challenge, which was initiated in January 2012, has urged public schools in the emirate to come up with ideas, plans and comprehensive health programmes at schools that include parents, students, school staff and the immediate community.

Thirty-four schools — 19 in Abu Dhabi, nine in the Eastern Region and six in Al Gharbia — participated in the challenge.

At the awarding ceremony on Tuesday night, the schools that rose to the challenge were awarded bronze, silver and gold status for their success in promoting the overall health and well-being of their students and the local community.

“We strongly believe that health promotion initiatives are best planned and conducted at the school level. Research has shown that the whole school approach… on which the challenge is based is effective in improving health, ranging from physical activities and healthy eating to emotional health,” said Dr Omniyat Al Hajri, Director of Public Health and Policy at the HAAD.

With eight hours spent by children each day at schools, the school was deemed to be the main body to teach and build a healthy community. “Teaching this young generation a healthy lifestyle would guarantee good health,” Dr Al Hajri stated, adding that parents also have an important role in building a healthy society.

The criteria for the Schools for Health Challenge include health and physical education, nutrition services, healthy school environment, providing access to counselling and psychological services, implementing extracurricular health promoting policies and practices, and striving to involve the family and the community.

More news from