Zayed University (ZU) students are ready to showcase their innovative health projects, as part of Creative Healthy Initiatives Project (CHIP) which was launched to spread health awareness and instill good practices among youngsters.
The College of Sustainability and Humanities at ZU has launched the second phase of “Creative Healthy Initiatives Project’ (CHIP), which aims to engage students in real-life work experience in the field of health.
Four teams of ZU students have started submitting creative concepts and ideas earlier this year to share health knowledge and educate students on health practices and behavior in order to build a new health-conscious generation.
The first project entitled ‘Healthy Transition’ studies the effect of the transition from high school to university.
“The transition from high school to university is a critical period for weigh gain. The purpose of this initiative is to investigate the effect of the transition from high school to university and spread awareness on importance of healthy meals and physical activities,” Ayseha Khoory, a junior student at the College of Sustainability and Humanities, said.
Ayseha, who studies public health and nutrition in ZU, conducted along with her team members a schedule with well-balanced meals that can be provided from restaurant’s menus at ZU.
The healthy transition project, which targets students at the age of 16-18 years old, was implemented in Dubai International School and Dubai National School.
Another group of five students launched “Sweet Tooth” campaign, as part of CHIP 2 which aims to raise awareness and identify ZU students’ daily intake of sugar.
“The campaign included various activities such as, a three-day sugar challenge and a cooking show. The sugar challenge encourages students and faculty members a like to reduce and cease their sugar consumption for three days and find healthier snacks to eat instead. The goal of this challenge is to show people that it is not difficult or impossible to live without artificial sugar and offer other alternatives and sources of natural sugar, which can be beneficial for the body,” Reem Ahmed Al Hammadi, who studies culture and society at the College of Sustainability and Humanities, said.
The project targets students who are between the age of 18 and 25 years old.
As the number of cardiovascular diseases is increasing, an awareness campaign entitled ‘For a Better Life’ was launched to inform and educate parents and students on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and identifying potential health risks.
The project was implemented at Al Khaleej National School in Dubai and Mirdif Private School and included several activities. For example: Jungle juices, mysterious boxes and body assessments.
“Our project targets parents, children, and adults and aims to define healthy food, which is high in fiber, natural vitamins and fructose and that can reduce cholesterol, risk of stroke, and help control glucose,” Hessa Al Shaibi, who studies public health and nutrition, said.
“Mysterious boxes activity aims to educate people on how to estimate their calories intake. Also, several workshops were conducted to educate people about pediatric surgeries and inform them on the negative consequences of diet pills that can be dangerous to health,” Hessa, who participated in the previous version of CHIP campaign, added.
Zujaja Tul Noor Hamid Mehmood along with her team members designed a project entitled “Exercise, sweet syrup for lectures,” which aims to encourage regular physical activity that can bring major health benefits and reduce mortality, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke.
“During our research, we found that around 20- 30 per cent of people in the UAE are exercising and the reason is hot weather, time restrictions or poor facilities. Therefore, our project was launched to encourage involvement in sport and physical activities especially within groups to maximize workout benefits,” Zujaja Tul Noor added.
Depending on the merits of proposals and the creativity involved in presenting them, the jury will choose winning teams.
“It is a wonderful project to be involved in. There are a lot of food, nutrition and exercise myths out there, and so it’s easy to be confused about what to listen to. However, throughout CHIP campaign, students have worked hard to correct many wrong myths. For example, many people think that missing breakfast might be a good way to lose weight; however, breakfast is such an important meal that fuels you up and gets you ready for the day,” Zelda Rooyen, Recreation Coordination at the Department of Students Affairs in Dubai campus, said.
“ I only need to exercise if I am overweight, is another myth that should be changed. A lot of people think the only reason to exercise is to lose weight, but this simply isn’t true. Physical activity not only helps you look better, but also gives you energy and helps to manage your stress and anxiety. Even if a person is slim, they still need to exercise as much as others to stay healthy and maintain cholesterol levels down,” Zelda, a member of jury panel, added.
Dr Usama Al Alami, Assistant Dean at the College of Sustainability and Humanities and leader of the project, pointed out that CHIP 2 will offer ZU students a great opportunity to practice the theoretical knowledge that they learned in their courses and will also highlight the College’s and the University’s commitment towards community engagement.
The awarding ceremony will be held in ZU’s Dubai campus on May 10 to honor creative projects taking part in the second phase of CHIP campaign.