The PIPO programme, a programme for intervention in the prevention of child obesity
The Adeje council and the regional department of health in collaboration with the national office of public health, put the PIPO programme into operation in schools during the 2013-2014 school term, a programme that uses intervention in the prevention of child obesity, promoting healthy eating habits and physical activity. The programme has been running in the borough’s public primary schools.
Adeje’s mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, along with councillors for health, social welfare, and education – Rafael Dolado, Amada Trujillo Bencomo and Andrés Pérez Ramos – met the person responsible for the project, Rosa Gloria Suárez López de Vergara, a doctor specialising in paediatrics and childcare with the national office of public health, who congratulated the Adeje council for introducing this kind of project which, “works to improve the health of the younger population”.
Mayor Rodríguez Fraga commented, “in Adeje we are very concerned about the health and lifestyle habits of our citizens, in particular the younger people, and for them these kind of projects that are based in schools are very relevant. We understand that training, prevention and rapid intervention where necessary are important elements as are healthy eating habits and regular physical exercise among other practises”.
The importance of this programme is a reflection of the gravity of the existence of overweight children and adolescents in the Canary Islands. Intervention in schools is happening through a series of theoretical and practical workshops, with sessions to give students a greater awareness of what healthy eating habits are and why they are important and why physical exercise should be an integral part of their daily lives, according to the PIPO directors. The training programme is also directed at parents whose involvement in the programme is essential to reinforce the message learnt in school at home.
The programme was operational from May 13 – June 13 in the six infants and primary public schools in the borough with the participation of 304 students. It was carried out as a curricular activity, the students learning to recognise where food comes from, how it is processed and prepared, etc. In parallel children learnt how many times a day they should be eating food from each of the food groups using the food pyramid model.
Students in the programme showed high levels of interest in learning about healthy eating and were happy to take part in the different exercise activities. Finally there were asked to become health representatives in their schools and at home and given educational material to help them teach others.
The PIPO programme was first introduced in 2012 with references to the World Health Organisation strategies in the field of infant obesity prevention, and the national programmes for the health promotion and illness prevention. Other bodies directly involved, alongside the Adeje council, the regional and national departments of health and the regional government include the University of La Laguna, the European Action for Health programme, and the Adeje department for economic development and employment through the ‘Actívate’ programme, as well as the six education centres involved