Rayle: Get youth healthy by stealth

The overwhelming success of hosting
the CARIFTA Games may help address the obesity problem amongst children and
young adults in Cayman.

That is the belief of Rayle
Roberts, president of the Cayman Islands Athletics Association.

He thinks more children
participating in sport will unintentionally enjoy the benefits.

Surveys show that sections of the
present generation of under-25s are for the first time ever likelier to die
before their parents because of the obesity problem. 

“One of the things you don’t want
to do with children and young people is to tackle the problem head on,” said
Roberts.

“They see it coming and their job
is to avoid it and any advice you give them.

“But if you create an atmosphere in
which they want to be then the by product of that it is tackling the obesity
issue.

“We know statistically that once
women are into sports there are fewer issues of them getting pregnant. Their
self-esteem also rises in sport.

“We can continue putting in
programmes after the fact or we can try to reinvent programmes and see if we
can get a few more medals out of it.”

Mark Scotland, the sports minister,
enjoyed attending CARIFTA.

Roberts said: “Minister Scotland
has been ecstatic about it. We haven’t had a chance to speak much but I got a
lot of thanks and thumbs up.

“CARIFTA exceeded a lot of people’s
expectations. We knew that it would be a successfully planned Games but it’s
also about the execution.

“I didn’t expect so much response
from Caymanians. The fact that they came out and showed that we can create home
court advantage here has been an awesome thing.

“We were under a tremendous amount
of stress because we had to organise under a limited period of time and also to
the high standards that Cayman always brings. And so with that we had a few run
ins.

“But I think that is why you see
the colour at this level. I wish we had been able to get everybody in the
stadium who wanted to be here.

“I had people who came in from
overseas who did not order their tickets that could not get in. There were
Caymanians who were feeling the buzz that wanted to come in and couldn’t.”

www.compasscayman.com/carifta/

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