South Africa is facing a public health crisis as obesity rates rise even as hunger and malnutrition persist. INMED’s Health in Action programme is tackling this complex problem via a school-based programme that teaches children about the importance of nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyles through engaging hands-on, skills-based activities. Launched in 2015 with the support of Mondelez International Foundation, INMED’s Health in Action programme is reaching more than 100,000 primary school children in 116 schools in 13 at-risk communities in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.
Integral to the Health in Action programme are school gardens, which are used as teaching tools as well as sources of fresh produce for school meals—and the community, in many cases. INMED and its partners supply the materials for the gardens as well as training for school food handlers, teachers, administrators and community members. Click here to read one of our success stories.
INMED is also promoting health and nutrition in the community by appearing on popular television and radio programmes. Designed to inspire healthy eating and physical activity for people of all ages, the segments feature cooking demonstrations, healthy lunch box ideas and simple exercises to practice at home, work or school. Through a collaboration with City of Johannesburg’s public health unit, INMED has been featured in multiple segments of the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s DTV program, a television program produced for hearing-impaired viewers. The segments focus on key topics promoted through the Health in Action program, including episodes on preparing healthy and balanced meals, nutritious lunch box and snack ideas, promoting physical activity with simple exercises and painted games and aquaponics. In one episode, for example, Health in Action Project Coordinator Dr Sandra Pretorius shared tips on how to prepare delicious, balanced meals, followed by a brief cooking demonstration at the Elias Motsoaledi Clinic in Orlando. That DTV segment inspired a group of “magogos” (grandmothers) to start senior fitness classes at one of INMED’s Health in Action schools—a key example of how the programme encourages greater community engagement in nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles. A licensed dietician, Dr Pretorius has been leading healthy eating educational sessions and cooking demos for a number of years in low-resource communities in collaboration with the City of Johannesburg and Department of Health.
Health in Action was also featured in a two-part segment of “Planting the Seeds” on SA FM radio. Hosted by Asanda Matsaunyane, the programme discusses issues that are of interest in the fields of agricultural production, policies and practices, as well other sectors linked to the agriculture, fisheries, forestries, and land spaces. INMED South Africa Operations Manager Janet Ogilvie described how our innovative aquaponics projects are improving access to fresh foods for disadvantaged communities. Click here to view the video for more information.