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JIS News

The Western Regional Health Authority’s Healthy Lifestyle cheerleading competition came to a close on Thursday (Feb.17) with Mannings High School from Westmoreland and Ruseas High School from Hanover placing first and second respectively, and advancing to the national finals scheduled for April 30.
Five schools from western Jamaica participated in the competition, which is being run by the Ministry of Health as part of its Healthy Lifestyle campaign. The initiative is aimed at increasing the level of health awareness among adolescents and to encourage healthy lifestyle practices.
Now in its third year, the competition has attracted approximately 32 schools across the island. The participating schools are divided into regional groupings with the first and second place schools from each group advancing to the national finals.
According to Takese Foga, Acting Director of the Ministry’s Health Promotion and Education Unit, the cheerleading competition provides an alternative to traditional sporting activities, while at the same time enhancing personal development. She explained that each participating school was required to form a healthy lifestyle/cheerleading club, where students were expected to tackle pertinent health issues, conflict resolution and environmental concerns.
Miss Foga told JIS News, that the programme has been effective and teachers have reported increased self-awareness and marked improvement in the behaviour pattern of students, who have participated in the clubs.
“They have told me that they have noticed for some students, it has been a certain behaviour change, it has helped self esteem in some cases, it has helped general behaviour pattern with students becoming more responsible and more positive”, she pointed out.
She said that there would be a concerted effort by the Ministry, to get even more schools involved in the programme and expressed appreciation to the many private sector companies that have sponsored aspects of the programme.