By Maja Tuljkovic – Sarajevo
According to statistics from the World Health Organization, B&H is in second place in the number of overweight people and the rate of mortality from diseases connected to improper diet has reached 53,9 percent in the FB&H. Among Roma children, malnutrition is present in a high percentage (24 percent), while, on the other hand, 17 percent of children under five years of age in the FB&H are overweight, 16 percent of school-aged children never eat breakfast, only 55,8 percent consume fruit on a daily basis, and 45,8 percent of children eat vegetables daily. More than 70 percent of children have a problem with over-nutrition, which indicates an unhealthy lifestyle and diet.
These are all the reasons why the program ‘Eat Healthy, Grow Healthy’ was launched and presented in Sarajevo, as an integrated, intersectoral program of the FB&H Ministry of Education, Science and Health and the Public Health Institute of the FB&H, which is aimed at improving the health of children of preschool and school-aged. Alo, on this occasion an implementation plan was presented of the initiative of the World Heealthy Organization ‘’Educational Institutions-Friends of Healthy Eating’ in the FB&H. The FB&H Department of Public Health treated this subject in terms of the assessment of previous eating habits of children and on this basis a database has established that at this moment the nutrition of children in the FB&H is not at a satisfactory level, in terms of the institutional organization of children, such as in kindergartens.
The aim of the program ‘Eat Healthy, Grow Healthy’ is to contribute so that B&H has a healthy and mentally potent youth, and that parents have to accept what the profession says and they have to believe in only what is natural, local and healthy, to accept what is scientifically proven that is good for their children.
‘’Above all, the program is based on a theoretical and practical training of children, parents, the public and professionals on the importance of healthy eating, and is based on the fact that every child, regardless of socio-economic status of the family , as well as ethnic belonging, has the right to an equal healthy start in life. Therefore, educational institutions represent an ideal framework for providing a better beginning for every child by ensuring adequate nutrition and the development of healthy eating habits’’, said the FB&H Minister of Education and Science DamirMašić on the occasion of the presentation of this project.
Six preschools in the FB&H are taking part in the program, and these are: „Dječiji grad“ Sarajevo, nursery „Bihać“, Public Institution for Pre-School Education „Zenica“, nursery „Našedijete“ from Tuzla; nursery „Čapljina“ and nursery „Sunce“ from Goražde. However, the goal is that in addition to these selected ones, other interested educational institutions would become familiar with the initiative ‘educational institutions-friends of healthy eating’ and the manner of its implementation and potential spread throughout the FB&H.
After the realization of the first phase of the program, dedicated to preschool educational institutions, there will be a continuation of the program in elementary and high schools in the FB&H, and an organization of various competitions on the topic of healthy eating.