Campaign supported by Grenada’s Kirani James – newly crowned 400m world champion
The campaign for a healthier Grenada – spearheaded by ‘Sport for Health in the Caribbean,’ with the support of the Government of Grenada and the Grenada National Olympic Committee—will be given added impetus as a result of national research findings involving 500 Grenadians, on their motivation for leading a healthier lifestyle. This was announced in London by Dr. Calum Macpherson, Director of Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF)—the research institute at St. George’s University.
A major objective of the campaign is to confront the challenges of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The announcement made at the conclusion of the United Nations NCD Summit in New York this past September, “will enable us to develop a national database and measure results on whether the campaign has made a lasting impact among different age and sex populations throughout Grenada. And, if not, what needs to be done.”
Dr. Macpherson pointed out that “a recent study, in collaboration with Grenada’s Ministry of Health and the Grenada Heart Project, has shown that 80 percent of Grenadian women over the age of 25 are classified as obese. We seek to galvanize Grenadians in the battle for a healthier lifestyle and pass on the lessons learned to other Caribbean countries.”
Funds for the campaign were raised at the WINDREF dinner at the House of Lords last November, hosted by WINDREF’s President, Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, and Baroness Howells of St Davids, the only Grenadian in the House of Lords.
At the dinner Lord Coe, Chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee, spoke of the “power of the Games to inspire change, particularly for young people.” The role model and first sporting ambassador for the campaign is Kirani James, Grenada’s first gold athletics winner at the recent World Athletics Championships.
With the formation of the Sport for Health Committee in Grenada, including former Governor General Sir Paul Scoon and Speaker of the House of Representatives George McGuire, the campaign was formally launched in Grenada in March. Sporting ambassadors were appointed in Grenada’s 22 secondary schools to support sporting activities in their schools and local communities. The most successful sporting ambassador will be invited to attend the Olympic Games in London, a major incentive for the newly appointed ‘ambassadors.’
“The research study will involve the sporting ambassadors in selecting suitable participants,” said Dr. Macpherson. “We will also work with three fitness centers, or boot camps, run by the police, and students in the School of Arts and Sciences at St. George’s University. The idea is that there should be a competitive element behind the data collection from the various sources – with participants regularly weighed and measured and the figures being released to Grenada’s national news media.”
The campaign is being supported by leading former Caribbean sportspeople including Olympic gold medalist Tessa Sanderson; former leading footballers Cyrille Regis and Garth Crooks; and Jason Roberts from Grenada, who plays for Blackburn Rovers.