Dr Amer Al Kindi Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Annual screenings conducted by health authorities in the capital show an alarming 64 per cent of schoolchildren in the emirate of Abu Dhabi do not consume the proper nutrients to support their developmental and educational needs.

To address such concerns, the latest pilot project in public schools, called the Abu Dhabi Schools for Health Challenge, has been launched to measure how well various initiatives encourage pupils to adopt healthier lifestyles, senior officials announced in the capital yesterday.

"This is the first time that schools are being given the opportunity to develop and implement their own ways of promoting health, and registration in this edition is therefore voluntary.


"In the next academic year, we hope to see more participation and will consider extending this challenge to private schools," said Dr Amer Al Kindi, division manager of health and wellness at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).

To date more than 50 schools have signed up for the challenge being organised by Adec and the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD). Al Kindi said the response had been overwhelmingly positive.

According to a survey nearly 30 per cent of pupils in the emirate are obese or overweight.

Shereena Al Mazroui, senior officer for family and school health at HAAD, said that schools often emphasised educational achievement over other elements of health.

Dr Mubarak Al Darmaki, section manager for health management at Adec's school operations sector, said various caterers and their services were being reviewed.

Schools can register for the programme until tomorrow.