CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Good health comes with determination

HONG KONG (SE): A family health carnival was held on December 27 to mark the conclusion of a campaign run by Caritas called the Be Healthy, So Easy: Family Education Project.

Over 300 people took part in the day to celebrate the campaign that was jointly organised by Caritas and the School of Public Health of the University of Hong Kong, with backing from the Charities Trust of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Family Council.

Family groups were held in eight Caritas Integrated Family Service Centres between July 2015 and September 2016 to introduce what was termed zero-time exercise and impart knowledge about healthy diets.

The zero-time exercise does not cost anything, take any particular time or need any equipment.

It encourages people to increase their level of physical exercise by doing basic movements like stretching different parts of the body in any place at any time of the day or night.

The simple movements can be carried out at work, on the bus or train, while walking or waiting in a queue.

The effectiveness of the campaign, which involved over 600 people, was assessed and studied by the FAMILY Project at the Jockey Club.

A spin off from the zero-time exercise groups was that people became more inclined to increase the time they devote to medium intensity physical activity, while at the same time keeping up their zero-time movements.

The groups also played an active role in motivating families to join the zero-time exercise programme as a unit.

In addition, people in the balanced diet groups were found to be more likely to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables, while drinking less sweet beverages.

The study shows that at the end of the programme people in both groups felt healthier and happier, as well as achieving an increase in their enjoyment of family life.

Families said that they experienced a greater level of harmony among themselves than previously.

Eliza Lam Yi-wan, the director at the Caritas Family Service, said the zero-time exercise and the balanced diet campaigns, while promoting health awareness, can also help to build up a positive attitude in society and assist families to live happily in harmony.

The campaigns were also joined by over 10,000 students from secondary school level right down to kindergarten. Promotional activities included a photography exhibition and a slogan creating contest.

Experiences of those who participated will be shared with social workers, teachers and other professionals at the Caritas Community Centre in Prince Edward Road on February 24.

A practical guidance handbook on family health will also be made available by social service organisations and schools.

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