‘Schools should prioritise physical activities’

National 1 minute, 49 seconds


SCHOOLS in Brunei need to get students engaged in more physical activities, said a health education officer from the Health Promotion Centre recently.

During the launch of the Fit4Good programme for students of Institut Tahfiz Al-Quran Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (ITQSHHB), Waajidun Ni’am Hj Dollah said with the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Brunei, students need to engage in more physical activities both at school and at home.

He said one of the ways schools can encourage students to exercise more is through the Fit4Good programme, an initiative introduced by the Health Ministry in 2014 which aims to raise awareness on healthy living and practices.

In his talk during the launch of the programme at ITQSHHB, Waajidun said secondary school students below the age of 16 should get at least 180 minutes of physical education and exercise per week, noting that many students still don’t exercise enough.

He said regular physical activity helps maintain healthy bones and muscles, adding that it reduces the risk of becoming obese and developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Despite physical education being introduced as a ‘compulsory complementary subject’ for all secondary schools under the national curriculum, some schools still don’t offer physical education programmes that stress the importance of fitness and health.

Hjh Norhidayatul Mukminah Hj Puteh, a teacher and coordinator of the Fit4Good programme at ITQSHHB, said ITQSHHB currently doesn’t have any physical education teachers and doesn’t include the subject as part of its curriculum.

“Our school places more emphasis on Quranic studies, so physical activities aren’t really prioritised,” she said, adding that she hopes the Fit4Good programme can help students who are struggling with their weight to lead a healthier lifestyle.

As a coordinator of the fitness programme, Hjh Norhidayatul selected students to take part in Fit4Good based on their Body Mass Index.

She said out of 210 students from Year 7 to Year 10, 54 or 26 per cent were found to be either overweight or obese.

Hjh Norhidayatul noted that out of these 54 students, 34 were overweight and obese males and 20 were females with BMIs exceeding 25. A healthy BMI is 18-24.

The Brunei Times