It is said that an ounce of prevention is worth one pound of cure, and this adage continues to be echoed by legislators that encouraging the Territory’s youths to eat healthy today would result in a reduction of non-communicable diseases tomorrow. At Large Representative, Hon. Archibald Christian has joined in the call for students to eat more fruits and vegetables.
On Sunday 31 August, Hon. Christian who admonished parents to include fruits and vegetable in their children’s diet stressed the importance of healthy eating. Speaking at the Fourth District Back to School Fair, Hon. Christian said: “One of the very important aspects of your education is your health and what you eat and consume; and I want to appeal to parents this afternoon when you are preparing your meals for your children, their breakfast and their lunch, that you pay close attention to what you are preparing.”
Mr. Christian asked parents to try to avoid packing salty snacks and sugary drinks in their children’s bags and opt for fruits and water which are more beneficial: “Meals should include more fruits and vegetables now more than ever and should include water and should have less cheetos and chips and salted items, because today when you invest in your children’s meals, it means that the healthcare bill of the Virgin Islands will eventually come down and your children will grow up to live long and productive lives.”
“I know that fruits and vegetables are expensive, but if you do some good shopping you will find that you can get some good deals from some local supermarkets right here in the Fourth District,” he added.
In the 20 December Sitting of the House of Assembly, Hon. Walwyn announced that the Ministry of Education, as a means to ensure that students are healthy and receiving the needed nutrition, will be taking steps to address what students eat at lunchtime.
The Minister disclosed that a keen watch of the types of foods parents pack in the lunch kits of students will be done and that similar scrutinizing will be done as it relates to the meals being served in and around school premises.
Hon. Walwyn explained that the initiative would be a collaborative effort between his Ministry and the Ministry of Health. He told the House: “The Minister (Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Ronnie Skelton) and I had a discussion the other day that we are going to mandate very soon what children can bring to school in their lunch kits; mandate what can be sold on a school compound, so that we don’t have children getting sick.”
Hon. Walwyn opined that the initiative is an intervention program to ensure that the Territory’s children grow up to be healthy adults.
On 7 November, 2012 at a public meeting in Fahie Hill, Health Minister Hon. Skelton expressed concern over the increasing number of patients who require dialysis treatment in the Territory. In light of the increasing numbers the Minister suggested that intervention begin in the schools at the earliest age possible.