In accordance with Egyptian President Al Sisi’s national health campaign Geel Bokra Yekbar Bi-Seha (Tomorrow’s Generation in Good Health), the Ministry of Health launched an educational video promoting proper nutrition in schools.
The video, which was directed by Ashraf Hamdi, encourages young children to stay away from fast food and opt for the consumption of fruits and vegetables instead.
Moreover, the campaign which falls under the presidential “100 million health” initiative consists of sending experts to schools all over Egypt in order to tackle the topics of obesity, stunted growth and anemia starting February 10 as per local news reports.
The information workshops will be complemented with physical examinations in private and public schools, in order to assess children’s infliction by any of the previously mentioned dietary illnesses.
Egyptian schools are notorious for selling snacks and junk food, replete with sugar and sodium.
Common and affordable snacks that are sold in schools include French fries, chips, chocolates and biscuits among other products.
According to a 2013 health report by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF, malnutrition is the lead cause behind two thirds of child mortality in the country which has lately crossed the 100 million inhabitants mark days ago.
Except for few private schools that offer meals or snacks for students, most children rely on home-procured meals or snacks for nutrition. This can have dire consequences on the health of growing children, with obesity progressively gaining momentum and laying the foundation for non-communicable illnesses such as diabetes and coronary heart disease.
However, with fruits particularly proving to be expensive for economically-struggling Egyptians, this has translated into surging intakes of cheaper sweets and tea/coffee loaded with sugar.
In repeated efforts to encourage physical activity, namely cycling, Egypt has introduced bike lanes as an attempt to develop a cycling infrastructure in New Cairo and Maadi.
President El Sisi, an avid cyclist, has been an advocate of the sport. Upon his elections, he encouraged people to discard their cars and start using bikes for commuting.