Minister of Health John Boyce announced today that Government has stepped up its campaign to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Barbados by establishing an Inter-Ministerial Working Group.

According to the Minister, Cabinet has approved the proposal to establish the group, which will bring together Ministries such as Health, Industry and Sports in a collaborative effort to address the challenges posed by these diseases.

Speaking this morning at the launch of phase 2 of the Theatre in Education Project, known as Edu-Drama, Mr. Boyce noted that these types of projects had the potential to transform the lives of children and their families.

The project, managed by theatre-in-education practitioner Amanda Cumberbatch, uses drama to educate primary school students about the dangers of NCDs. The children produce ???a play in a day??? focusing on making healthy eating choices and getting appropriate levels of exercise.

The Health Minister said it was particularly important that these messages reached children at an early age because obesity in children in Barbados was an emerging trend. He noted that a 2012 survey revealed that 30 per cent of school-aged children in Barbados were overweight or obese.

According to the survey, he said, children were frequently consuming carbonated beverages and eating meals prepared outside the home.?????Clearly, as policymakers, parents and guardians, we must accept that if our children are at risk, we have a duty to address that threat, to ensure that our children will have every opportunity to realise their full potential,??? he said.

Mr. Boyce stated that the theatre-in-education project would capitalise on children???s natural gift as health educators. ???If you want to teach adults how to make healthy choices, teach the children and they will teach the adults.?????

He praised Sagicor Life Inc. for sponsoring the project, noting that its willingness to partner with the public sector to execute the initiative was an expression of its concern for the well-being of the children of Barbados.

The primary schools involved in this phase of the project are Holy Innocents Primary, Grantley Prescod Primary, All Saint???s Primary, Gordon Greenidge Primary, Ignatius Byer Primary, Workman???s Primary, St. George Primary and St. John???s Primary.

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