More than 400 children from three schools in Diepsloot, South Africa, played, danced and competed in a “Fun Day” of physical activities topped off by a tasty, healthy lunch. At the Fun Day event, hosted by INMED South Africa to celebrate the launch of its Health in Action program, students were encouraged to stay active by playing games that kept them on their feet, such as soccer and hopscotch, while also dancing to music provided by a DJ, enjoying a bounce house, and more.
Through the Health in Action program, supported by the Mondelēz International Foundation, schools are incorporating lessons about nutrition and physical activity into their curriculum to teach students about the importance of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles—and to encourage them to share those lessons with their family members.
The program meets a real need, as South Africa’s children face a growing crisis of obesity while still confronting hunger and malnutrition. In response, INMED’s Health in Action program is working with 100,000 children in more than 100 schools in the metropolitan areas of Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth to promote healthy and lasting changes in a way that makes learning fun.
“The [Fun Day] was quite pleasant, especially for the kids,” said one fourth-grade teacher. “But it also opened our eyes as educators and adults that you need to be active now and again.”
In addition to physical activity and nutrition education, schools in the Health in Action program will also establish gardens to provide fresh vegetables to supplement school meals, as well as to serve as outside classrooms and examples for the whole community.
Students are inspired to share their new knowledge with their families and neighborhoods. By bringing their enthusiasm for gardening home, their families are encouraged to create their own home gardens to provide a dependable source of food that is both convenient and nutritious. Through this shift in outlook, communities as a whole will be able to fight the trend of malnutrition and obesity.