“The Health of our Youth is the Strength of our Nation”
Belize City, 28 September 2012 – Belize celebrated the 12th Belize National Secondary Schools Nutrition Quiz Competition for 2012 on the 28th of September at the Biltmore Plaza in Belize City. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports coordinated the competition with close collaboration from the Ministry of Health, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and ADM Belize Mills Limited with all agencies contributing financially for the ongoing success of the competition. The main purpose of the competition is to educate and create awareness about proper nutrition in both the teachers and students through a fun and motivational way, with the goal to achieve positive behavior changes in the practice of nutrition and lifestyle. It is hoped that the competition will establish positive trends in Belizeans purchasing more local food products including whole grains and utilizing their by-products and where possible establish vegetable gardens to nutritionally enhance the diet.
Opening ceremonies as well as the competition took place with the theme of “the health of our youth is the strength of our nation.” Opening remarks included Ms. Robin Daly, Nutritionist- MOH, Ms. Christine Norton, Country Representative UNICEF, Dr. Gerardo de Cosio, Country Representative PAHO/WHO, and Dr. Jorge Polanco Deputy Director of Health Services, MOH. The keynote address was given by the Honorable Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports. The ceremony featured an item by the Belize Dance Company as well. Closing remarks were given by Mrs. Davita Martinez, from the Ministry of Education. All of the speakers mentioned that promoting healthy eating is essential in the development of the country and how the youth can be ambassadors of healthy eating. Honorable Patrick Faber also commented on how we must promote physical activity and regulate the selling of unhealthy snacks at school and change them for healthier choices.
The objectives of the competition include: to create greater awareness among young people about the importance of healthy eating, to equip young people with skills to enable them to make healthy eating choices, to contribute to the health status of Belizeans through the reduction of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases through heightened awareness, and to strengthen the nutrition programmes in homes, schools and communities.
This year, seven schools participated in the competition:
Delille Academy- Magdalena Gonzales, Sheldone Sutherland, Kyra Villafanco,
Belize High School- Jeremy Quinto, Felicia Quan, Tala Safa
San Pedro High- Edith Lopez, Jazmine Ritchie, Mahe Perreira
Julian Cho Technical- Luis Kus, Ruby Fajaro, Melinda Chub
Bishop Martin High- Angel Navidad, Gabriela Castellanos, Devini Chell
Sacred Heart College- Yudally Valdez, Omar Hernandez, Elroy Shol
Chunox St. Victor Vocational- Ivandier Perez, Divena Samos, Emidio Linarez
During the three hour competition, Bishop Martin High maintained a lead throughout the four rounds of questions and ended up in first place. San Pedro High School took second place and Belize High School in third place. All of the students that participated received a certificate and the winning team received a trophy for their school and mini laptops.
For the individual competition, there was a tiebreaker round between Angel Navidad from Bishop Martin, Ruby Fajaro from Julian Cho Technical and Tala Safa from Belize High School. Angel Navidad won first place in the individual competition and received a gift certificate.
The coordinators extended their appreciation to all of those that contributed to the successful event and they look forward to the competition for next year.
The Pan American Health Organization, which is the Regional Office in the Americas of the World Health Organization, was founded in 1902, and works with all countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. The PAHO/WHO Country Office in Belize was established in the 1950s.
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