The joint effort by schools has been supported by the Liggins Institute (University of Auckland) and Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health.
Students in year nine are undergoing health checks, including: having their height, weight, and body mass index measured, blood pressure checked, and their blood sugar and cholesterol levels recorded.
This is later followed up in years 10 and 11 to compare their results, with the aim of combatting future high levels of obesity and non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, and heart disease.
On Tuesday morning, it was Nukutere college’s turn to be visited by the MOH team.
Leading the initiative at the school is science teacher, Colleen Berry, who agrees that promoting healthy choices is as important as learning any other subject at school.
She uses a poster in the classroom to illustrate some worrying statistics: “One in three children in the Cook Islands are overweight, and then by adulthood, nine out of 10 are overweight.”.
Berry says a card is being sent home with students to share some valuable insights with their families, including better ways to learn through positive attitudes and better nutrition.
Wise words on the card say: “A growing child needs lots of nutrition to feed the brain and body so he/she can stay active, motivated, and inspired to learn throughout the day.”
If they follow the advice, Nukutere College pupils will be healthily fuelled up in future to set them up for a successful education.