Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, addressing the opening of the Advocacy Open Day recently. (J. Rawlins-Bentham/BGIS)

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB) has the full support of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy.

Champion of the Childhood Obesity Programme, and Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Minister, Kirk Humphrey, gave his ministry’s commitment to assisting the programme in the areas of swimming, nutrition and the preparation of food from the ocean.

He made this declaration as he addressed children and their parents during an Advocacy Open Day at the Yute Gym, recently.

Mr. Humphrey described the statistic of one in every three children being overweight as “staggering and frightening”, and noted that it was a situation that needed urgent attention.

“We have to find a way to drive home the message if we are going to create change,” he stated, stressing that children are the future.

The Minister emphasised that at the end of the day, it was about children and the young people, and said he hoped they became more involved in the process of being healthy.

Earlier this year, Minister Humphrey encouraged the children who were a part of the programme to make good use of the island’s beaches for physical exercise and other wholesome activities.

This was a challenge capitalised on by students who are members of the Yute Gym, as they recently completed a 12-week swim programme.

Participants attending the Advocacy Open Day recently. (J. Rawlins-Bentham/BGIS)

Chief Executive Officer of the HSFB, Michelle Daniels, said that parents were an important part of the process, especially as they encouraged children in the programme.

She also expressed her thanks to those agencies that partnered with them, including the Ministries of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy; Education, Technological and Vocational Training, and Health and Wellness, and the Rotary Club of Barbados.

She noted that the HSFB focuses on health and wellness, using rehabilitation and prevention measures.

Professor of the Yute Gym, Professor Ann St. John, explained that the gym was formed four years ago to provide an intervention for overweight and obese children, and those affected by non-communicable diseases, such as asthma.

She added that the age ranges for participants were eight to 10; 11 to 15 and 15 to 19.

Participants are encouraged to engage in physical activity and are exposed to nutrition counselling for students and parents.

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