Belfast Telegraph

Prizes for schools as kids learn the value of leading a healthier way of life

By Rebecca Black

Almost 50 schools have won prizes for their innovative ways of helping youngsters to enjoy healthy eating.

Without one of Jamie Oliver's dreaded turkey twizzlers in sight, Health Action Awards were awarded to 47 nurseries, schools and colleges across Northern Ireland.

The winning projects included healthy meals, safe sun initiatives and extra curricular exercise programmes.

Local charity Action Cancer and independent retail group Centra are behind the 2013 awards, and the winners have helped launch the prizes for next year.

As well as the 47 local winners, the high scoring schools in each Education and Library Board region received cash prizes of £200.

In addition, The Stewart Bryans Memorial Prize of £400 was awarded to St Bernard's Primary School, Glengormley, for demonstrating the best overall improvement to health education policies over the past year.

The healthy school awards are part of Action Cancer's Health Action initiative, which provides a range of health promotion sessions for schools and colleges, and is sponsored by Centra. More than 400,000 young people have taken part in the programme since 2003.

Action Cancer Health promotion manager Frances Dowds said the awards are unique in Northern Ireland, encouraging local schools that provide first-class health education to children and motivating others to do the same.

"The award entries highlight some fantastic examples of health promotion projects in schools and colleges each year, and generally we have noticed an improvement in the quality of the projects year on year," she said.

"With Centra's support Action Cancer delivers healthy lifestyle sessions to tens of thousands of young people every year, with the aim of creating new, healthy behaviours, which will reduce their risk of getting cancer. Our hope is that the Health Action programme, working alongside in-school projects, will ultimately save lives."

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 help reduce future incidences of cancer.

The award-winning programme is supported by Centra retailers across the country, who have raised more than £860,000 to fund it over the past 10 years.

Nikki McDowell from Centra said: "Centra retailers in Northern Ireland committed their long-term support to Action Cancer's life-saving work in schools over 10 years ago, and they are proud to continue providing funding and promotional support to the programme as a way of giving something back to the community."


The website recommends a number of ways to encourage kids to eat vegetables.

* Introduce new foods slowly. Children are new-food-phobic by nature.

* Dip it. If your kids won't eat vegetables, experiment with dips.

* Make mornings count. Look for high-fibre cereals for a quick fix.

* Cut back on junk. Give children more fruit and wholegrains.

Belfast Telegraph


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