Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete says schools are the key setting that provides the opportunity for children and adolescents, their families, peers and wider communities, to learn and practice healthy behavior.
While speaking at the workshop for Strengthening Health Promoting Schools: Experiences from the Pacific Islands, Dr. Waqainabete highlighted World Health Organization suggests, that the 1.2 billion adolescents in the world today represent more than one-sixth of the global population and most of them are attending school.
He says this makes schools a unique setting for preventive interventions, and school years as an important period to establish a healthy lifestyle that will contribute to the improvement in the quality of life and longevity.
Dr Waqainabete adds since 2009, the Government of Fiji through the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with WHO has continued to advocate for schools to become Health Promoting Schools.
He says that Health Promoting Schools is a strategic vehicle to promote positive development and healthy behaviours such as physical activity, physical fitness, balanced nutrition and prevent tobacco use and which will eventually lead to the reduction of NCDs in our nation.