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Aug 3, 2023

MOHW & MOE Piloting a Healthy Schools Project

Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa

The Director of Health Services Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa shared details of a Healthy Habits, Healthy Schools, Healthy Belize Project that will be piloted in eighteen schools across the Belize District, including San Pedro and Caye Caulker. The initiative is a partnership between the Ministries of Health and Wellness and Education and looks at providing healthier meals to students and reducing sugary drinks in their diets.  Doctor Diaz-Musa says that the pilot project will roll out in September and possibly across the country by next year.


Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, Director of Health Services, MOHW

“The phased approach involves first sensitizing the public, ensuring that we inform everyone of what the plan is from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and secondly, how we go about ensuring that this initiative is a successful initiative. Now some of the schools that have been chosen have already started their own initiatives, independently of this project. So some of these schools have stop selling soft drinks, have only promoted healthy foods, have started to distribute snacks and they have gotten positive reports from parents and students as well. So it is important for us, as a ministry and the Ministry of Education is in agreement – that if we are going to do an initiative like this, it has to have the buy-in of the students. The students have to want to change the way that they are eating and they need to demand healthier foods at the schools. In addition to the foods that they are eating, we also want to ensure that the amount of sugary drinks is reduced. Studies in the past have shown that young kids consume two or three soft drinks a day – whether at school, at home or at friends’ house, etc. So this habit has to really, we are trying to ensure that that habit is changed and promote more water, more natural juices, coconut water or other things that they can use, fruit juices without sugar. And so we are starting with training of the teachers who are a part of these schools. We will meet with the parent/teachers association as well and try to ensure that we get the support from the parents as well and of course we will roll out a big sensitization and training for the kids.”


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