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Abu Dhabi – 17 June 2011: The Health
Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the
regulatory body of the health care sector in
the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in partnership
with the Abu Dhabi Education Council has
awarded 53 public and private schools for
their participation and efforts in the Eat right
& get Active Campaign.
The school-based program is a joint effort
between HAAD, ADEC, AHS and ADFCA to
support healthy eating and physical activity,
while encouraging a wider base of schools
to adopt Eat Right and Get Active initiatives
that serve the specific health needs of their
students and meet community expectations.
This is the biggest year for the Eat Right &
Get Active Project with 38 schools located in
Abu Dhabi, 11 schools in Al Ain and Eastern
Region and one school in the Al Gharbiya
Region. For the first time, schools conducted
an Eat Right & Get Active week from 21st –
25th April 2013.The schools who participated
organized various activities on healthy
eating and physical activity, and invited their
parents to join their children in the activities.
The activities varied from lectures given by
a health specialist, plays by students and
preparation of healthy meals by parents.
In order to ensure continuous improvement,
each school conducts a pre and post
implementation assessment. An evaluation
of these assessments showed that there
had been significant improvements in the
healthy eating and physical activity school
environments and in the student’s healthy
eating behaviours.
Abu Dhabi
Honors stakeholders in the
Schools for Health Program
The assessment
of healthy eating
opportunities included
improvements in the 
• Availability of nutrition
policy in schools from 35.7
to 78.6%
• Implementation of the
school canteen guidelines
from 85.7 to 100%
• Monthly healthy eating
awareness sessions from 78 to 92%; and
• The availability of healthy eating options at
school premises (canteens, vending machines
and during events) from 64.3 to 71.4 %.
The assessment of physical
activity opportunities
included improvements in the:
• The percentage of schools adapting a physical
activity policy from 46.7 to 80% ;
• The implementation of evidence based
curriculum to increase students’ physical
activity levels from 73.3 t0 100 %;
• The percentage of schools offering at least 3
Physical Exercise classes of 40 minutes per
week from 33 to 60 %; and
• The percentage of schools offering sports
program after school hours from 26 to 46 %.
HE Mr. Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri,
Executive Director of school operations in
ADEC, lauded efforts exerted by the awarded
schools and congratulated them on their
ongoing outreach programs which should be
practiced by all schools in the Emirate of Abu
Dhabi. “These schools recognize the importance
of health and its effects on the delivery of
quality education and serve as a great example
for the rest of the schools, which should follow
their lead to promote an eat right, get healthy
campaign in their schools and among their
Mr. Al Dhaheri added: “Research shows that
healthy students tend to have higher academic
achievements and cognitive thinking. That
is why it is vital to maintain and continue to
promote healthy lifestyle habits among our
youth who are the future of this country.
Prevention of diseases will help create a healthy
and competent working society in the future,
that is why this campaign is continuous and
reaches out to all stakeholders involved, since
it plays a vital role in shaping tomorrows future
for our students.”
“Dr Omniyat Al Hajri, HAAD Director of
Public Health & Policy, explained that each of
the 53 schools has been acknowledged for their
participation and efforts, which encourages
more schools across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
to come up with creative health promotion
initiatives to improve healthy eating and
physical activity behaviours of students and the
“Each of those schools has been required to
attend workshops to familiarize them on the
approach and to educate them on the concept
of healthy eating and physical activity. We are
delighted with the high standard of work that
we have seen from the participating schools and
the role model that they have played for other
schools, and look forward to witnessing the
participation of more schools in the program,”
said Dr. Omniyat.
Schools are better equipped to identify required
areas of improvement in issues related to
health and to take action at the school level
through different education campaigns, added
Dr. Ominyat. “We strongly believe that health
promotion initiatives are best planned and
conducted at the school level. Research has
shown that the whole school approach using
the Health Promoting Schools Framework, on
which the eat Right & Get Active Campaign is
based, is effective in improving health ranging
from physical activities and healthy eating to
emotional health. It is vital to involve parents
and families in health promotion activities in
order to improve dissemination of our health
messages, support of the community to health
promotion initiatives and to create a lasting
positive impact on the health of students.
More than often, health-related decisions are
taken by the mother or the father, thus it is
vital for parents to be involved in school health
promotion initiatives.”
July/Aug 2013