Jamaica Cancer Society Promotes Healthy Lifestyle Practices among Youth

Photo: Dave Reid Representative of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control Mrs. Kay Morrish-Cooke of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica points out the ravages of smoking on the body to students at the Anti-Tobacco Youth Forum held in February 23 at the Courtleigh auditorium.

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) has used the month of February to promote healthy lifestyle practices, especially among high school aged students across the island.
  • Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the JCS, Yulit Gordon said the organization worked in close partnership with the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, along with the Tobacco Control project to undertake the initiative.
  • Mrs. Gordon commended the efforts of the high schools, whose cafeterias are carrying healthier options such as soups and salads, as a step in the right direction towards encouraging the students to eat healthy.

The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) has used the month of February to promote healthy lifestyle practices, especially among high school aged students across the island.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the JCS, Yulit Gordon said the organization worked in close partnership with the Ministry of Education Youth and Information, along with the Tobacco Control project to undertake the initiative.

“We talked to the students, the teachers and the guidance counsellors about healthy lifestyle practices,” she explained, adding that this was an ongoing process.

She noted that it was important to focus on the youth, as they can be adversely affected by unhealthy lifestyle choices, including the hindrance of development.

Mrs. Gordon commended the efforts of the high schools, whose cafeterias are carrying healthier options such as soups and salads, as a step in the right direction towards encouraging the students to eat healthy.

The Executive Director noted that physical education is also being encouraged at all levels.

“There was a time when physical education was mandatory, whether at the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Level or at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level. Physical Education should be mandatory in basic, primary and high schools,” she added.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Gordon pointed out that through the Tobacco Control Project the Cancer Society is in dialogue with the Ministry of Health in crafting a comprehensive tobacco legislation.

“Jamaica Cancer Society as a member of the Jamaica Coalition for Tobacco Control would like to see the implementation of a comprehensive Tobacco Control Law, which is already in draft, in keeping with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),” she said.

“The law would ban Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) through which the companies focus attention on the youth. This will hopefully result in reduced rates of youth smoking,” she added.

Mrs. Gordon further mentioned that her organization has submitted documentation towards having a comprehensive legislation that will look at how the tobacco companies advertise and market their products.

The Executive Director noted that tobacco companies tend to target the younger demography by making the habit look cool and appealing and that the comprehensive legislation should address that.

The month’s activities culminated with the Anti-Tobacco Youth Forum which was held at the Courtleigh Auditorium on February 23.

Just over 400 students from 33 schools across the island participated in sessions on keeping fit, nutrition and drug misuse.

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