Leaders encouraged to lead fight against obesity

To help fight childhood obesity, Nobesity Samoa is hosting a “Kids Kicking Obesity” awareness event tomorrow at the St. Joseph’s College Grounds, Alafua. 

Programme Coordinator Visceta Meredith said this is part of their work to help families in Samoa live a healthy life, beginning with children. 

More than 80 children are expected to attend the event with the main event being the obstacle race. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is expected to be present, including members of the Cabinet, business leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and notable members of the community. 

Ms. Meredith said the presence of such influential leaders will have a huge impact on trying to send the message across to children on the importance of eating healthy. 

“We want to get children to be inspired and to encourage them, and that is why we have invited these leaders to be present on the day. 

“The event is created for a family affair and a family day out kind of thing because if anything, the parents hold the key to making the change. At the end of the day if we try to make the change, we can only educate children and they can help their friends, and also their parents.”

She told the Samoa Observer that this year, their programme has about five 10-year-olds who weigh more than 100kg, which is alarming. 

“We have seen that there is an increase of childhood obesity rate not only in Samoa, but in the Pacific. So we see that this falls under the flag of working with kids, we’ve decided that with the funding from the US Embassy (US$5,000 (T$13,120) in 2016), we have created this awareness. 

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“For our team it is more of being proactive because the more we provide opportunities for kids to move and play, that’s the solution. We cannot just tell the kids what to do, we have to show them what to do and set an example ourselves as adults.”

Ms. Meredith said part of their advocacy work is their keyhole garden project, which aims to instill healthy habits in children and to involve parents in providing nutritious daily intake.  

This is an initiative that needs the collaboration of the media, Nobesity Samoa, Government leaders, relevant ministries, business communities and individuals to help kids fight childhood obesity, she said. 

Ms. Meredith added Nobesity Samoa looks to take their programme to Savaii in February, 2019. 

Some stalls that also stand for the same cause such as SWAG Organic Farmers, EZIBro Juice Bar, Aunty Lima Local Delicacies, Bella’s Food Trailer, Café 10, USP Home Grown Produce, Eat a Rainbow are set to promote nutritious menu on the day. 

The National Kidney Foundation will also set up a screening booth for those who want to know their weight and cholesterol level. 

Ms. Meredith acknowledges the support of major sponsors - U.S. Embassy and Business Systems Limited. Associate sponsors include Mana Industries, Central Bank of Samoa, Samoa International Finance Authority, Farmer Joe, Fletcher Pasifika, Travel Federal Pacific and Samoa Housing Corporation. 

Event on the day includes the curtain raiser – The Little Big Chase, a Spartan type challenge obstacle circuit, with registration opening at 8am.   

(See more from Nobesity on page 11)


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