Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 05, 2016 (SKNIS): Shannan Christian of the Saddlers Secondary School proudly accepted her prizes and accolades as the winner of the Nutrition Mascot and Slogan Competition, at a Prize-giving Ceremony, today, May 5.
The contest which was coordinated by the Nutrition Surveillance Programme of the Ministry of Health, involved creating a pictorial representation of a mascot.
“I designed and named her Healthy Heather,” Ms. Christian explained, noting that the mascot will encourage and cheer on students to eat healthy and exercise. “She has her fruit basket and a bottled water. This is to encourage them (students) to eat their fruits and drink lots of water. I also encourage them to eat fruits rich in protein which help to build muscles and repair tissue which is important for growing children.”
Ms. Christian expressed pride in being able to represent her school, where she said she would begin the promotion of healthy eating among her peers before expanding to the rest of the Federation.
Latoya Matthew-Duncan, Nutrition Surveillance Coordinator, explained that the mascot “will be utilized as a pilot intervention aimed at improving nutrition and physical activity of school-aged children.”
“The Nutrition Programme at the Ministry of Health recognizes the importance of nutrition interventions to improve nutrition in our children,” Mrs. Matthew-Duncan said, emphasizing that schools can be vessels to foster a healthier environment and promote healthy lifestyles. “Children and adolescents’ expectation of food has changed in recent years. The fast-food industry aggressively promotes its services to this segment of the population. Adopting some of the commercial industry’s strategies to promote proper nutrition and physical activity has the potential to foster positive healthy behavior. Thus the Nutrition Mascot and Slogan Design Competition held September to November 2015.”
Mrs. Matthew-Duncan explained that the contest involved secondary-level students and allowed multiple original submissions by each school. There had been 24 entries. Round One involved a blind review that did not allow judges to know the name, the school, the gender or the age of the students. Round Two was online voting on Facebook and Round Three involved a committee of eight professionals making the final decision. Submissions were judged on creativity and artistic quality as well as how well they represented the chosen nutrition slogan.
First and second place winners went to students of the Saddlers Secondary School, namely Shannan Christian and Aziel Belle respectively, while third place winner Chauntia Thomas, fourth place winner Ashan Brookes and fifth place winner Earleane Webbe all attend the Charles E. Mills Secondary School.
Mrs. Matthew-Duncan took the opportunity to warn that “obesity among adolescents and children has reached epidemic proportions in the Americas,” where St. Kitts and Nevis is situated.
“Chronic Non-communicable Diseases are rooted in dietary choices and patterns of physical activity levels that have developed over a lifetime and thus influenced by innumerable factors such as personal traits, cultural choices, occupation and financial influences,” Mrs. Matthew-Duncan said. “Since food is a central aspect of everyday life, the opportunities for nutrition promotion projects are almost unlimited.”