The school day just got healthier, thanks to Miss World Bahamas 2018 Brinique Gibson and several corporate partners which have joined hands with the beauty queen for her “Beauty with a Purpose (BWP)” project, Eat Wise. Exercise. Stay Alive (EWESA).
The EWESA school challenge is a voluntary certification initiative that recognizes schools for their efforts to establish supportive school wellness policies by improving food and beverage offerings, teaching children about nutritious food choices and being physically active.
The Bahamas is rated as the country with the highest percentage of overweight people in Latin American and the Caribbean, and many of those affected are children. It is this statistic, and her own personal struggle with being overweight, which led Miss World Bahamas to choose EWESA as her Beauty With a Purpose project.
“I know what it is like to be overweight,” said the beauty queen.
“A year prior to entering the Miss World Bahamas pageant, I was more than 30 pounds overweight. However, the decision to enter the pageant served as the catalyst for me to change my mindset and make better diet and lifestyle choices.”
Gibson acknowledges that solving The Bahamas’ obesity problem will only happen if there is a cultural shift.
“It is all in the mindset. Losing the weight wasn’t easy, but I was determined to meet my goal so I turned down the typical, less healthy Bahamian meals, and chose instead to make wiser food choices as well as incorporated exercise into my routine,” she explained.
“If I can do it, I know others can as well. All they need are the tools to make it happen and the determination to stick with the plan.”
She chose to launch her program in schools for a very specific reason.
“Children are like sponges. They soak up everything they hear and see. If we can teach them at an early age how to eat wisely and exercise to stay alive, then they can influence their parents to make better choices, and they themselves will become healthier adults,” she said.
To achieve this goal, EWESA has developed a template for participating schools. The program includes Nutrition Education, Classroom/backyard farming, and opportunities for Physical Activity. Participating schools have an additional incentive – the chance to earn one of four monetary awards:
- Gold Award of Distinction $1,500
- Gold Award $1,000
- Silver Award $800
- Bronze Award $500
Joining Miss World Bahamas in the effort are partners The Island Game (TIG) Foundation; Miss Bahamas Organization (MBO); Atlantic Medical; Bahamas Wholesale Agencies (BWA); Evolve Fitness; Fox Hill Nursery; Bahama Blue; Caribbean Bottling.
More than 450 students will participate in the EWESA project from the Claridge Primary, Uriah McPhee, Sadie Curtis and Columbus Primary schools. If the project is successful, steps will be taken to encourage its implementation nationwide.