A ‘Health Week’ at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School is being seen as a potential testbed for similar future events to help the Island’s children learn more about healthy lifestyles and emotional wellbeing.
The Douglas school has worked with local businesses, parents, and the Department of Health and Social Care’s Health Visiting and School Nursing Service to organise a week of events which will include a health fair for children and their families. A ‘Zumbathon’ will serve as the grand finale, with the whole school coming together for a taste of the popular dance-based fitness routine.
Health Visitor Laura Kewley, who is helping organise the week of events, said:
'The public have an increasing awareness of how important good lifestyle choices are for long-term health and wellbeing; but this knowledge needs to be instinctive for the next generation.
'Obesity in particular and the health problems it can cause – such as heart disease and diabetes – are an increasing problem. Education and early intervention are key to prevent future generations developing mainly preventable health problems that are becoming increasingly common.'
The initiative is just one example of the work the DHSC is undertaking to implement its five year strategy, which includes an objective to encourage people to take greater responsibility for their own health.
Pupils at the school will also be taking part in The Daily Mile over the week which pupils are being encouraged to continue. St Christopher’s, which is contracted by the DHSC to provide a number of services for children on the Island, is also taking part, talking to pupils about mindfulness and discussing the importance of emotional wellbeing.
Headteacher Tim Short said: 'I am very grateful to all the agencies who are coming together to promote the future health and welfare of our children. I hope that Health Week becomes a regular feature at St Mary’s School and that this is just the beginning of a great initiative.'
Local businesses backing the scheme include Top Banana, Robinson’s, The Alpine Café, and the Isle of Man Post Office – between them generously providing a range of healthy snacks and drinks. Jillian Crispin from Jillian’s Unique Fitness Solutions and Julie-Ann Armitage from NutriFit (IOM) are kindly assisting with the physical activities. Avondale Dental Practice, St John Ambulance and the Isle of Man Constabulary’s Road Safety Team are also taking part.