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MBS pushes for Nutrition Peer Counsellors in Schools

The Medical Benefits Scheme (MBS) is equipping students from four secondary schools with useful information to help them and their classmates make healthy nutritional choices. Through this initiative, the MBS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education is seeking to make effective dietary changes in those four schools by introducing Nutrition Peer Counselling teams, responsible for undertaking nutrition related campaigns in their school.

On Tuesday, 13th January, 2009, a total of forty (40) students from the Antigua Girls High School, the Antigua Grammar School, Jennings Secondary School and the Ottos Comprehensive School will participate in a two day Nutrition Peer Counselling Training programme. On the completion of their training, participants are to implement nutritional programmes in their respective schools aimed at influencing the dietary habits of their peers and teachers.

At the two day workshop students will be educated on the relationship between health, academic performance, body language and chronic diseases, key principles for planning a meal, the recommended daily intake of food, and how to read food labels. Students will also be informed on food from food the groups and how to carryout a nutrition campaign.

The introduction of Nutrition Peer Counselling teams in secondary schools is one of several intervention exercises forming part of the Physical Activity and Nutrition (Pan) Project. The Pan Project as it is commonly known seeks to stimulate increased physical activity and improved dietary habits amongst students through school and community based programmes. The Pan Project, which was launched in December, last year, is a collaborative exercise between the Medical Benefits Scheme and the Ministry of Education

Presenters at the two day Nutrition Peer Counselling Team Training programme include MBS' Medical Officer Dr. Leslie Walwyn, MBS' Nutritionist Sonia Smith, the Chief Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health Juanita James, and Education Officers in the Ministry of Education Beverly Allen, and Earla Esdaille.

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