Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
The Sports for Life programme continues to receive support from the Government of the Virgin Islands and various sporting organisations.
The concept of ‘Sports for Life’ is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity. It links sport, education, recreation and health as well as aligns community and national programming.
The Ministries of Health and Social Development and Education and Culture in conjunction with the BVI Olympic Committee and various sporting organisations have supported the long term athlete development and physical literacy programme which also seeks to increase physical activity and long term health through initiatives, programmes and policies.
Representatives from the Canadian Sport for Life Society were in the Territory on May 18 and 19, to conduct strategic meetings and presentations aimed at encouraging increased physical activity in the entire population.
Facilitator, Mr. Drew Mitchell said that Non-Communicable Diseases are the number one killers of persons in the Western Society. “We believe that a lot of people do not move,” he said, adding, “They are not as active as they could be because they don’t have the confidence and skills to move on a regular basis. As a result we are seeing an increase in sedentary-based disease. These are diseases that are totally under our control. We are not born with it, we acquire it through our lifestyles.”
Meetings were held with education officers, principals and senior health officers, while demonstrations and practical sessions were carried out with primary school health liaison teachers, physical education teachers and proprietors and teachers from early childhood centres. The facilitators also paid a courtesy call on the Minister for Education and Culture.
Physical literacy was integrated in the primary school physical education curriculum and into the Chronic Care Disease Control programme at BVI Health Services Authority. A three year community physical literacy programme is being developed to build on the foundation established. This programme will seek to increase physical activity using a physical literacy approach in a systematic manner from infants to seniors.
The BVI is one of six Caribbean countries that were selected to participate in a two-year pilot project. The programme is a collaborative effort of Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canada Sport for Life Society, Sport Solidarity, BVI Olympic Committee Canada and the Sport for Life Society.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.