Waikato District Health Board funded children’s health initiative Project Energize has been adapted for delivery in primary schools in County Cork, Ireland.
The Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) was looking for a programme that delivered on both physical activity and nutrition and was impressed by Energize. The Irish equivalent programme is called Project Spraoi (pronounced Spree), with a dedicated team working within local primary schools to deliver the initiative, as part of CIT’s exercise and health research cluster.
An agreement for the programme implementation was established in 2013, with Sport Waikato assisting CIT with the development of the programme and providing ongoing support. Currently Spraoi is delivered in four schools to 1030 students aged 7 and 8 years.
Project Energize Project Manager Stephanie McLennan is confident that the Waikato created programme will work in Ireland.
“Some things have needed to be adapted such as the logo and name, however the positive messages of healthy nutrition and physical activity remain the same. We are optimistic that CIT will find good results when monitored,” McLennan said.
Project Spraoi Coordinator Dr Tara Coppinger explained that the school students will be monitored on improvements made in the areas of nutrition, increases in physical activity and decreases in sedentary time.
“We have masters and PhD students supporting the programme, once we saw a presentation of Energize we decided to use the best practice model and adapt it to an Irish setting. The response from the school community so far has been very encouraging,” Coppinger said.
Project Energize began in 2005 funded by the Waikato District Health Board. Research conducted in 2011 showed that Energize delivers measurable improvements in the health of Waikato children. The programme also has pilot programmes running in other parts of New Zealand including Northland and Counties Manukau.
For more information on Project Energize visit www.projectenergize.org.nz.
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