Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner (FP)

"The way in which you approach the subject of health with children determines the extent to which they adopt habits which may affect their health status in the long term."

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, made this assertion last Wednesday, while speaking at The People’s Cathedral Primary School’s Health Day, held under the theme "The Strength and Glow of Good Health".?? It was held at the school’s Bishop’s Court location.

"We must place much emphasis on the health of our children as good health habits are formed during these formative years.?? We want our children to attain optimal health to enable them to realise their fullest potential in school and beyond," she told those gathered.

Senator Sandiford-Garner urged the teachers to highlight healthy habits in ways that the children could understand. "Explain how getting regular exercise will give them more energy and possibly help them excel in sports. Share how eating nutritious foods can help them to concentrate better in school.?? Eating vegetables should be inculcated and not be a chore and getting healthy should be enjoyable. Point out the fun and adventure in trying a new activity or dish," she advised.??????????????????????

To parents, the senior government official recommended that entire families be involved in making healthy lifestyle adjustments, as children were more likely to be successful in changing their habits, with support.??

"Know that actions can speak louder than words. Behaviours children witness at home and at school are the ones they are most likely to adopt for themselves. Remember, parents, you are your child’s biggest influence. If parents and teachers drink sugar-laden beverages, do not expect your child to choose water. Create a healthy home environment by offering nutritious meals and snacks and planning active family events," Senator Sandiford-Garner advocated.

She also heard presentations from two semifinalists of the recently held Barbados National Bank’s speech competition – To Smoke or Not to Smoke by William Gordan and Diabetes – Your Child and You by Veria Walcott.

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