Mar 08, 2013 Sports
By Zaheer Mohamed
The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) yesterday donated a quantity of sports equipment to the New Opportunity Corps on the Essequibo Coast. The presentation took place in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Sport, Main Street.
The equipment included 22 footballs, basketballs, volleyballs and reflex exercises, Six (6) table tennis sets, two (2) cricket sets and skipping ropes.
Speaking at the ceremony, Adrianus Vlugman, PAHO’s Senior Advisor Sustainable Development and Environmental Health said the lack of physical activities is a major risk for non communicable diseases (NCDs); in plain English if you don’t move enough you will have a higher risk of overweight, get a heart disease, stroke and diabetes and don’t live as long and less healthy. He stated in Guyana, almost 60 percent of the deaths annually are related to NCDs.
Vlugman related that the other risk factors are, eating too much food, too much sugar, fat and drinking too much alcohol.
“All these factors are related to lifestyles, and lifestyles are developed early, when kids are still in school. Our Health Promotion activities run across all PAHO\WHO health programmes; it is what we call a cross cutting issue.
That is why PAHO works with multiple partners to address youth issues, especially in school and community settings and encourage among other things, physical activity” he added.
Vlugman said there is a lot of talent in the Caribbean. “I have discovered a lot of talent in the programmes I have been involved in; the older generation owes it to the youth to provide ample opportunities to develop these talents.
Parents and schools often discourage children to be involved in sports. Frequently teachers forfeit physical education classes for Math or English. This is wrong. Studies have shown that regular physical activities improve learning capacity.
That one extra hour of academic training in an already jam-packed academic curriculum is extremely ineffective as compared to one hour of Physical Education,” he stated.
The PAHO Rep. also indicated that he is very happy to donate the equipment to the NOC to further develop their physical activity programme.
“This programme is being executed by the Ministry of Education Allied Arts Unit to promote physical activity in a fun way at the NOC with the aim of encouraging young persons and their guardians to engage in these activities, regularly.
In addition, the Ministry of Health will provide information and proper nutrition and benefits of regular physical activity. We are convinced that these will not only bring joy and fun, but also opportunities to better health and longer life for the youngsters going to use them. And who knows, there might be an Olympian medalist among them,” Vlugman noted.
PAHO has been a long standing partner with the Ministries of Health, Education, Agriculture, and Culture, Youth and Sports in the fight against NCDs.
It was stated that this commitment was renewed yesterday as together they showcase national community level activities to promote healthy living and encourage residents to develop same.
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