Name of the activity: Healthy Heroes (child & adolescent health education)

Country/NMO: Ireland (AMSI)

Program:Children Health & Rights

 

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Education.

 

General description:

NUI Galway’s Paediatric Society and the Association of Medical Students Ireland (AMSI) are co-running a 2-day event titled ‘Healthy Heroes’ to promote child and adolescent health. They have invited a total of 400 local primary school and transition year students to attend interactive workshops surrounding healthy habits, on November 12-13th at NUIG’s main campus.

The aim is to promote the health and well-being of primary and secondary school students in the hopes that they will learn essential knowledge and skills that will help them to consider their health when making daily choices.

Core skills will be taught through small group activities, and will begin with an introductory powerpoint presentation or expert speaker. The session facilitators are all volunteer NUI Galway healthcare students.

For the Teen (Transition Year) Health Day, Nov 8th, there will be 4 separate stations which will focus on:
Mental Health
Drug, Tobacco & Alcohol Abuse
Physical Activity
Nutrition
These subjects were chosen in response to Ireland’s most pressing needs for youth at present: mental health promotion, alcohol and drug safety, and obesity reduction . One in four deaths of young men aged 15-39 in Ireland is due to alcohol, and it is a factor in half of all suicides in Ireland. The organisers chose to also focus on mental health promotion, as one in five young people in Ireland is experiencing a mental disorder.

For the Child (8-10 year olds) Health Day, Nov 9th, there will also be 4 separate stations:
Nutrition
Physical Activity
Mindfulness/Yoga
Basic Anatomy & Physiology- this will be taught by Cell EXPLORERS, the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences outreach programme that engages young people in cellular and molecular biology.
These lessons will be interactive and interesting, with handouts and goodies for the children to take home. This is to ensure that what the children learn can be shared and discussed with their family at home.

Focus area:

Children’s mental health, Children & the dangers of substance abuse, Children & healthy habits (physical activity, healthy eating, hygiene, etc)

Problem statement:

The primary motivation behind this project stems from the students’ belief that Ireland’s obesity epidemic will not cure itself. In the past two decades, the numbers of overweight and obese persons in Ireland have doubled (Morgan et al, 2008 ). Only 40 per cent of us now have a healthy weight (DoH, 2016 ). Overweight Ireland 2009 report shows that at age 13, 13 per cent boys and 9 per cent girls are overweight. Healthy Heroes allows medical students to take initiative to raise awareness on this issue. Promoting healthy eating at a young age can help to prevent diseases later in life, such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis or hypertension. Effective health promotion and education is key in tackling these issues.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

200 primary school children (ages 6-9) and 200 secondary school adolescents (ages 15)

Objectives and indicators of success:

OBJECTIVES:
-to raise awareness about childhood obesity and adolescent substance abuse in Ireland
-to empower and inspire the teachers to take what they learn back into their classrooms to teach health behaviours weekly
– to ensure that what the children learn can be shared and discussed with their family at home
-Volunteers will be able to gain hands-on experience and gauge whether a career in Paediatrics/GP would suit them

SUCCESS INDICATORS:
-amount and quality of media coverage/ press release traction
-online survey feedback from teachers
-online volunteer feedback from medical students

Methodology:

We have a core organizing committee of 15+ medical students. Each has 2+ roles that they have signed up for. We communicate through a Facebook group and in meetings monthly. We will be holding a training evening for all the medical students interested in participating in the event 1 week prior. We will set up the rooms the night prior to the event with decorations and materials.

Plans for evaluation:

Feedback from the participating student volunteers and school teachers will be collected, to evaluate the success of the project. This feedback will be collected on Google Forms the day after the event and will stay open for 2 weeks.

We will compare this feedback to the baseline surveys given to the teachers and verbal thoughts expressed by the medical students and children.