South Africa: A Healthy Body, a Healthy Mind On #MandelaDay

Merging former President Nelson Mandela's love for children and healthy living, the Basic Education Department and Woolworths took nutrition and physical activity to the Ilinge Primary school in Uitenhage, on Mandela Day.

On what would have been Nelson Mandela's 101st birthday, the DBE in partnership with Woolworths celebrated by bringing a special health and fitness programme to the learners of Ilinge Primary.

More than 1200 learners, 40 educators and staff, as well as nine food handler volunteers cooked and served meals as part of the school's nutrition programme and participated in an action-packed day that highlighted the benefits and enjoyment of healthy eating and physical exercise.

Learners had the opportunity to participate in the entertaining Woolworths Education Programme's 'Healthy Living' class lesson.

The lesson used engaging interactive activities to teach the basics of healthy nutrition, including the South African dietary-based guidelines.

In partnership with the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA), the children were put through their paces along a six station health track manned by SSISA instructors, who helped them master different techniques.

From forward rolls, mountain climbing, mini soccer ball and skipping rope challenges to a hula-hooping marathon as well as fine tuning 'catch and throw' and running backwards, Ilinge learners experienced a range of physical activities.

All the sporting equipment used in the health track was donated to Ilinge Primary so that the school can continue to enjoy the benefits of physical activity.

In addition, the food handler volunteers and school vendors had a valuable interaction with a Woolworths dietitian.

The focus was on the important balance provided by a variety of foods, healthy fats, understanding food labels, avoiding added sugar and salt, sharing food safety and hygiene practices as well as encouraging the sale of healthy choices by the vendors.

"To celebrate Nelson Mandela's incredible legacy, we aimed to empower and inspire Ilinge Primary to adopt a healthier lifestyle with a focus on good nutrition and regular physical activity," said Woolworths Education Programme General Manager Pieter Twine.

The department's Chief Director for Care and Support in Schools Faith Kumalo said the day was dedicated to all the children to have fun while doing physical exercise.

"In addition to a healthy diet, regular physical exercise boosts the immune system, improves mental vitality and helps prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

"We want to thank Woolworths SA and other partners for making it possible for the Department to give 67 minutes of our time to make a difference at Ilinge Primary School. Nutrition Education is important and should be implemented effectively in every school," said Kumalo.

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