A programme aimed at tackling childhood obesity levels was launched at the John Mackintosh Square last Saturday.
The Children, Healthy and Active Multi-agency Programme [CHAMP] saw different departments and charities including Public Health, the Youth Service and the Gibraltar Cardiac Association come together in a bid to reduce childhood obesity on the Rock.
Currently one third of children in Gibraltar are either overweight or obese. The staggering statistic just slightly tops the UKs obesity rate.
Music blared and children flocked to John Mackintosh Square to take part in sports activities with parents listening to nutritional advice at the day-long event.
The Minister for Health, Neil Costa, and the Minister for Education, John Cortes opened the event that saw more than 30 people from governmental departments and charities take part in the event.
“It was very concerning to all of us to learn that over a third of children in Gibraltar have obesity,” Mr Costa said.
“I think that it is important we understand that we need to be more careful as to what children eat and that means educating not just children in schools.”
Mr Costa was encouraged to see the Care Agency, the Department of Education, GHA, Public Health and the Youth Service working together.
“This is a team effort of different agencies of government working together for the benefit of the community,” Mr Costa said.
Dr Cortes added the group effort made by the departments was “tremendous” and announced that he has joined the initiative vowing to lose weight “at last”.
CHAMP is the brainchild of Consultant Paediatrician Annie Dai who decided the programme was needed after a severely overweight child was admitted into St Bernard’s Hospital.
Dr Dai hopes to avoid further severe cases of obesity through educations of both parents and children.
“I am privileged to work in Gibraltar was the decision-makers care and the people care,” Dr Dai said.
“Everyone is a champion. This is the new way of living in Gibraltar, it is not just a programme or an initiative, and this is how we need to live.”
Over the next coming month’s workshops and events will be held with the aim of reducing unhealthy lifestyles in children.