The SI! Programme receives the NAOS Strategy Prize for the promotion of physical activity in schools.

The SI! Programme receives the NAOS Strategy Prize for the promotion of physical activity in schools.

Ana Mato, the Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality, presented the 2013 NAOS Strategy Prizes in recognition of initiatives aimed at achieving the NAOS Strategy objectives: the promotion of healthy diets and lifestyles.

The SHE Foundation’s SI! Programme (Total Health) was awarded the NAOS Prize for the promotion of physical activity in schools. The other prize-winners were:

During the proceedings, the Minister, Ana Mato, presented some preliminary findings from the latest report of the 2013 Aladino Study, produced by the Ministry using a sample of 3,426 children from 7 to 8 years old as a base.

This sample was also representative of the country as a whole. Although the data indicate that the prevalence of excess weight still remains high among very young children, they also show a downward trend over the last two years (since the 2011 Aladino Study), a fact the Minister considered promising.

To be more specific, the 2013 Aladino Study indicates that child overweight has stabilised around 25%, but also shows a slight decrease. If in 2011 26.2% of 7 to 8 year olds were overweight, the percentage had been reduced to 24.6% in 2013.

As regards the prevalence of child obesity, in 2011 19.1% of 7 to 8 year olds fell into this category, compared to 18.4% in 2013.

To sum up, excess weight affects 43% of schoolchildren in this age bracket, when two years ago the percentage reached 45.3%, representing a decrease of 2.3%.

Although the figures remain very high, this trend ‘should encourage us to look towards the future and press us to redouble our efforts to reverse the growing trend of child obesity definitively’, the Minister stated.