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Schools are lauded for health efforts

By Lisa Smyth

Schools across Northern Ireland have been singled out for recognition of their innovative approach to health promotion.

Leading charity Action Cancer has presented its fifth annual health awards to 16 schools across Northern Ireland, in conjunction with independent retail group Centra.

The health-conscious schools impressed Action Cancer with their proactive approach to health education for pupils, and award-winning schools included those with healthy meals, extra-curricular exercise programmes, cancer awareness projects and shaded play areas for sun protection.

The awards are part of Action Cancer's ongoing Health Action initiative, which offers a range of health promotion roadshows for primary and secondary schools, as well as further education colleges, and is sponsored by Centra. The Health Action initiative is also fully supported by the Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

Developed specifically for Northern Ireland schools, Health Action aims to educate young people on the importance of a healthy diet, care in the sun and the need to take exercise to save lives from cancer.

The award-winning programme is supported by the 86 Centra retailers across the province, who have raised £270,000 to fund Health Action over the past four years.

Action Cancer's Health Promotion Manager Emily Magrath said the charity was delighted to see a continuing high standard of health promotion in the province's schools and colleges.

"We are always impressed to see what pre-school groups, schools and further education colleges are doing to promote healthy lifestyles among young people," she said.

"The Health Action Awards are designed to acknowledge the best initiatives and the winners this year have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the health of pupils and students."

She added: "With Centra's support Action Cancer delivers health messages to 30,000 young people across Northern Ireland every year in an effort to increase healthy behaviour, which will reduce their cancer risk in later life."

The 16 winning schools received a trophy and the winning primary and secondary school in each Education and Library Board has been given a £200 cash prize to be spent on school equipment.

Centra brand manager Nicky Kelly helped present the awards and said the company will continue its support of Action Cancer's work for the long-term to help the charity make the biggest impact on the health of the younger generation.

For information on the Health Action Awards or to get your school involved in the Health Action programme contact Action Cancer on 028 9080 3344.

Belfast Telegraph


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