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Focus on student health

Ana Madigibuli
Saturday, February 23, 2013

A CHILD Health Survey carried out in 21 schools in the country revealed that many students were living an unhealthy life.

The statistics was revealed at the Fiji Wellness Summit at the Fiji National University's Pacifica Campus in Suva on Thursday.

The survey which was conducted by Action for Children and The Aged (ACATA) Trust Fiji involved 4500 students in the country.

The statistics showed that 85 per cent of the 4500 students were not drinking the required amount of water and 86 per cent of those students consumed sugar-loaded carbonated drinks regularly.

It also showed that 80 per cent were not physically active for the recommended 60 minutes a day, 89 per cent did not eat balanced meals and 11 per cent had gone to bed hungry one time or the other in a month because of the unavailability of food.

Other statistics showed that 61 per cent of the students were severely thin, overweight or obese, 10 per cent did not have breakfast when leaving their homes, 25 per cent watched excessive television, movies or indulged in computer games, 16 per cent had memory problems and 25 per cent were bullied in school.

Pundit Vishnu Deo Memorial College principal Ravindra Deo Varman released the findings of the survey at the summit.

Mr Varman said being part of the health and wellness policy had made schools like his implement some wellness programs that could reduce such statistics.

Mr Varman said the survey was quite interesting for the school.

"We are trying to encourage our students to take active participation in physical activities and encourage them in doing similar activities at home with their families," he said.

"We have seen the progress so far in creating such activities for the students and the attitude of students towards such activities has been positive.

"Students are even bringing healthier lunches to school because of the wellness policy."

Mr Varman said it was important for health and wellness programs to start from schools because students would surely benefit from such programs.

Ministry of Health's national adviser on non-communicable diseases, Doctor Isimeli Tukana said it was important to get wellness programs in schools within the country so that NCD cases could be prevented at a younger age.

The two-day summit ended yesterday afternoon.