Healthy hearts for college kids wins Award

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Students at Otaki College can now be found trading pies for sushi at their school canteen.

The school has launched a number of fantastic health promotion initiatives this year, after signing up for a free Heart Foundation programme called Heart Start Toitoi Manawa.

In recognition of its hard work, Otaki College recently received an award from the Heart Foundation. Health Promotion Coordinator Mariana Alletson says the school has achieved some outstanding results over the year.

“The staff and students have worked so hard to create a healthier school environment. It is so important to educate students about the importance of looking after their bodies, but it’s also important to provide an environment that supports that. Otaki College has definitely achieved this,” Miss Alletson says.

Heart Start Toitoi Manawa is a school-based programme which encourages schools to implement initiatives around heart health, nutrition and physical activity.

Since registering with Heart Start in February this year, Otaki College has involved the school community in a range of health promoting initiatives.

The student health and environment team got the ball rolling with suggestions to amend the canteen menu. The team distributed surveys to students to find out what healthy options they would like to see on the menu and, after collaboration with the school canteen manager, a new menu has been created. Fizzy drinks are gone and sushi is now a lunchtime favourite.

Other initiatives have included running a breakfast club, holding a health expo day, and participating in the popular Food for Thought and Kids Can Cook Kitchen.

“Otaki College is to be congratulated as the first secondary school in the MidCentral region to achieve a Heart Start award,” Miss Alletson says.

“It’s been inspiring to see the schools progress in adopting and promoting healthy eating in their school environment.

Otaki College is a fine example for other schools across the country to follow.”

Otaki College has plans to work towards the next level of the award next year.

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The Student Health team: Megan Seto, Teeana Tawhiti-Watson, Phoebe McInerney-Heather, Lisa-Marie Turner, Holly Bevan, Jessie Slade