The City’s Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Schools Programme is to be rolled out to more schools this year. The programme was launched last year by Mayor Parks Tau at Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School in Ivory Park.
The programme was first mooted in 2011 as part of efforts to reign in rampant lifestyle diseases and conditions among children.
Councillor Nonceba Molwele, the City’s Member of the Mayor Committee for Health and Social Development said 132 schools have already registered for the programme, and by June this year, it would be rolled out to more than 250 schools.
The programme will help fight lifestyle diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol among pupils. “If we start these programmes in schools, the children will get used to the discipline and we will raise a healthy generation,” she said.
Molwele said schools have a lot of incentives to join the scheme. Each of the registered schools appoints wellness champions to assist with the co-ordination and sustenance of the programme. Each school receives a
R5 000 voucher to buy training equipment, and schools that do well in the programme qualify for a R50 000 cash prize.
According to the World Health Organisation, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
Molwele added that overweight and obese children were likely to remain obese in adulthood and are more likely to develop non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular ailments at a young age. “Healthy eating habits and exercising go a long way,” she said.
“Parents need to do away with packing lunch boxes filled with sugary snacks and fizzy drinks and substitute them with nutritional foods such as fruit, whole grains, vegetables and proteins. Our children need to get out into the sun and be active as opposed to sitting in front of a computer or PlayStation all day.”