NUI Galway ‘Healthy Heroes’ Event Promotes Child and Adolescent Health

Oct 31 2018 Posted: 10:33 GMT

NUI Galway’s Healthy Heroes event will return again this year taking place from 13-14 November. This two-day event, organised by healthcare students from the Association of Medical Students Ireland (AMSI) Galway and the University’s Paediatric Society, will focus on teaching primary and post-primary school students from around County Galway about the importance of being a “Healthy Hero”, and trying to live healthily.

Both days will consist of workshops in NUI Galway run by experts in the fields of nutrition, exercise, mental health, physiology and anatomy.

The project stems from the students’ belief that Ireland’s obesity epidemic will not cure itself. In the past two decades, the numbers of overweight and obese persons in Ireland have doubled. Rosie James, a fourth year medical student and one of the project’s collaborators said: “Overweight Ireland 2009 report shows that at age 13, 13% boys and 9% girls are overweight. I’d like to see medical students take initiative to raise awareness on this issue. Promoting healthy eating at a young age can help to prevent diseases later in life, such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis or hypertension.”

The first day (Tuesday, 13 November) will focus on primary school students with a series of workshops including:  

  • The National Dairy Council (NDC) will run a nutrition workshop which will focus on portion sizing and healthy foods
  • A children’s meditation and yoga workshop will be delivered by instructor Penny Jones
  • A physical activity and physiology class called ‘Dance for your dopamine, HIIT for your heart’ will be given by Dr Sarah Gundy of Science Foundation Ireland which will involve fun exercise while learning how this exercise helps your body
  • A human anatomy and cell biology workshop will be taught by Cell EXPLORERS, the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences outreach programme that engages young people in cellular and molecular biology

Second level students are invited to attend a ‘Teen Day’ on day two (Wednesday, 14 November) for a series of workshops focusing on overall health and healthcare issues facing young people in Ireland, such as mental health promotion, alcohol and drug safety, and obesity reduction. The workshops will include:

  • The National Dairy Council (NDC) talk on nutrition, including dispelling popular dieting myths
  • Crossfit Galway will run an exercise class specifically designed for teens
  • The Soar Foundation will talk about mental health; including how to recognise the signs of stress, how to seek help and some helpful coping mechanisms
  • Croí and Youth Work Galway will speak about the effects of drugs, alcohol and smoking and teach some practical life-saving manoeuvres

Maria Regan, a third year medical student, said: “In a digital age where many claim to be a healthy lifestyle expert, Healthy Heroes offers students understandable, factual information on how to best look after their own health. Through effective take home skills taught by experts this event helps to instill healthy habits in students.”

Lidia Shafik, a third year medical students, said: “Healthy Heroes is a fun and interactive form of preventative medicine and is really essential in all ages. This is why we’ve designed teen day, to revive their core knowledge of mental, physical and nutritional health and moreover, add to it! Likewise with alcohol and tobacco abuse becoming widespread among Irish young people, with 16% to 29.9% of teens as young as 13 having already started smoking, the importance of constant education in these matters cannot be overstated.”

The event is sponsored by NUI Galway, Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM), , SuperSubs, French Vanoli School of Fitness, Fyffes, Glenisk, Cell Explorers, Soar, Youth Work Galway, Croí, Dunnes Stores, Dr Madeleine O'Reilly’s Dental Surgery, Spun Out, and the National Dairy Council.

For further information on the events email or


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