Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke’s Well Schools Programme aims to educate young people and children and their parents/guardians around health and well-being, equipping them with the knowledge and life skills to lead a healthier life and reduce their risk of chest, heart and stroke illnesses in later life.
In Northern Ireland, the leading causes of cardiovascular disease include obesity, nutrition and physical inactivity. This is very worrying as 25% of children aged 2-10 years old are either overweight (17%) or obese (8%) and only 43.4% meet the 60 minutes physical activity recommendations1. Research has shown that childhood obesity can put children and young people at an increased risk of high blood pressure or high cholesterol2. In the study’s population-based sample of 5 to 17 year olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Smoking has not only been shown as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease but for COPD. In 2016, figures showed that 4% of 11-15 years old in Northern Ireland smoked and 83% of smokers said they started in their teens3.
The Well Schools Programme provides pupils with a safe and supportive environment to learn about healthy eating, physical activity and the dangers of smoking.
In 2017/18, 28 schools in areas of high deprivation were targeted with our three-week Chester’s Challenge Programme, promoting and educating 1,670 children about healthy eating, the importance of physical activity and the dangers of smoking and we reached a further 6,000 children and young people with Well Talks workshops across Northern Ireland.
2 Freedman, D.S., Zuguo, M., Srinivasan, S.R., Berenson, G.S., & Dietz, W.H. (2007). ‘Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study’, Journal of Pediatrics, 150(1), pp. 12-17.
Our Health Promotion School Programmes: