The historic walls of the nation’s oldest all girls’ academic institution, the Antigua Girls’ High School (AGHS), now feature a poignant, colourful and creative health mural, which brings attention to the issue of childhood obesity.
The project dubbed “#ArtStudentsAgainstObesity”, was made possible through a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment (MoHWE), Rotary Club of Antigua (RCA), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Antigua Girls High School and Her Excellency Karen-Mae Hill, High Commissioner.
The unveiling ceremony took place on Friday in the presence of the student body, teachers, parents, members of the RCA, officials from the MoHWE, Ministry of Education and the media.
In her remarks, Chief Nutrition Officer at the MoHWE, Samantha Moitt, said the ministry is very pleased that the concept has come to fruition after almost two years of discussions, and that it continues to work tirelessly to tackle the risk factors associated with childhood obesity, by making the school environment better.
“This mural is a great step in addressing childhood obesity in Antigua and Barbuda. We want our young people to become aware of the types of food that they are eating and the impact it can have on all children and youth in our country. We must have a nutrition policy that spells out what schools should do, such as regulating the sale of unhealthy foods,” she stated.
She also congratulated the art students and their teachers for bringing creative art to a topic of major importance.
While giving the overview of the project, AGHS’ Visual Arts Teacher and Project Coordinator, Sharon Joseph, said that it was a learning experience which also created an atmosphere for the students to bond. She also expressed the hope that the gesture will assist officials in raising awareness about the importance of practicing a healthy lifestyle.
She extended gratitude to the RCA for coming on board to support the initiative, and also to the NCD Coordinator in the MoHWE — Valarie Williams — who initiated the project.