Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Schools Programme is based on the belief that prevention is better than a cure and that it is important to educate children so that they can make healthy choices as they grow up and avoid future illness.
Many of the key health behaviours such as smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity and poor nutrition are significant in the development of chronic disease. These behaviours increase an individual’s risk of developing of CHD, Stroke and COPD. In Northern Ireland, 25% of children aged 2 – 10 years old are either overweight (19%) or obese (6%).
Smoking is another area that NICHS must tackle with children. Statistics from 2010 suggest that 83% of smokers start in their teens. Figures showed that 8% of 11 – 15 year olds in Northern Ireland smoked. NICHS estimate that 12 children every day, 86 per week and 372 per month take up the habit in Northern Ireland. The estimate is based on NHS figures on trends for drinking and drug use among young people up to the age of 15.
Therefore, NICHS must tackle these issues with young people to aid the prevention of chest, heart and stroke illnesses in the future. The schools programme targets primary and secondary school aged children to try and modify their behaviour before long term damage can occur.
In 2014-15, NICHS reached 2,354 pupils by delivering Level 1 health talks to 6 primary and 4 secondary schools and 3 youth clubs, and through our Level 3 Chester’s Challenge Programme to 22 primary schools.
We asked three children what messages they would give to adults about being healthy. Their advice is:
“We also discussed the importance of exercise and physical activity and how this benefits our health. The children thoroughly enjoyed the activities in which they competed against each other in a series of mini games. It was also very interesting to learn how to locate and measure our heart rate, which the children still talk about before and after PE.
“Finally, we talked about the risks of smoking and how it affects our health. The children really enjoyed having their picture taken and seeing the effects of smoking as they aged.
“Overall, the children thoroughly enjoyed the visits from NICHS and still talk about Jessica and Katie and all the fun and interesting facts they learned over the three weeks. We can’t wait until next year.”
Primary and Secondary School Health Promotion Talks
– 30 minute or 60 minute talk;
For more information, please click here to download a PDF about our Schools and Community Health Programme, or email our Health Promotion department on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Level 2 – Choose Healthy Stuff Teachers Resource pack
– This is a Primary School teachers’ resource pack, suitable for P4 – P7:
- Lesson plans about healthy eating, physical activity and the dangers of smoking.
- “Choose Healthy Stuff” challenge
- “Choose Healthy Stuff” quizz
- Fundraising pack
To access these resources please fill out the form below and you will be redirected to the webpage where you can download them.