Sport and nutrition: a complete education


According to the WHO the number of obesity cases worldwide has doubled since 1980. For example, in the United Sates, the percentage of obese and overweight people was 62.9% in 2014, including 27.7% of obese adults, reported Gallup. For Vanessa Cornely, Director of ORSaG (Regional Health Observatory of Guadeloupe), the first surveys on obesity in Guadeloupe date back to the end of the 90s, a period when we began to talk about an "obesity epidemic". In 2013, ORSaG published a report on Saint-Martin which title can be translated as Diabetes, Obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol in which one could read: "Nearly two-thirds of the people surveyed in Saint-Martin are overweight: a third are overweight (33%) and a third are obese (31%)". Figures which are well above those of Guadeloupe and the mainland that reflect, among other things, a more "Americanized" society of Saint-Martiners.

In order to contain this epidemic, considered preventable by the WHO, the IREPS Guadeloupe (Regional Forum for Health Education and Promotion) has turned to the association, Profession Sport & Loisirs. Together, they have set up the Tcaps program which focuses on sports and physical activities in 10 middle schools of the Guadeloupe schools district (l’Académie de Guadeloupe) including the Mont des Accords middle school of Marigot. This program, carried out in partnership with the schools district, will soon complete its second year of existence and is funded mainly by the ARS (the regional health department), while the DJSCS subsidizes the sports equipment.


Erwan Gentil, a PE teacher, coordinates the activities. He hosts workshops on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 12:45 and 2pm in the middle school’s gym, which are intended primarily for 6th and 7th grade students. There are about twenty students who regularly participate. Indoor soccer is extremely popular, but circus arts, step classes… are also available. To fight excess weight and obesity, the most important thing is to regularly practice physical activities. But, a balanced diet must also be followed. This is why the action of the IREPS and Profession Sport & Loisirs (PSL) includes a nutrition component.

For the "Family sports" afternoon organized on June 1, Erwan came with his juice extractor as well as several kilos of fruit. “It’s very important to raise awareness among children and their parents to eat well”, said Frédéric Bedouet, the director of PSL, who came from Guadeloupe to participate in the event. “Over here, very few children eat in the school cafeteria” he pointed out. And he added: "The environment is not conducive to the practice of sports: there is neither a locker room, nor a water fountain. It’s cheaper for them to buy a soda next door”.


A few meters away, Lydie Vigoureux, a project manager at the IREPS and coordinator of the Tcaps program, is cooking a huge fruit salad. She came specially from Guadeloupe for the day. “Next year, we will intervene in 16 middle schools” she said enthusiastically. According to her, eating properly is complex given the different parameters involved, but not complicated. “In order for to succeed, you need to stop indulging in order to have instant pleasure”.

Despite all the preparation, and the presence of Andra and Alaïa, who are completing their training to become sports educators and who had come to help, only a few children and a mother and her daughter were present that day. One must not forget that the "My Euro 2016" soccer tournament was taking place at the same time. Erwan Gentil who was able to convey his energy and good mood with music, was hardly disappointed: "I consider that it’s a fight and that we shouldn’t give up, even when almost nobody came", he said philosophically. Frédéric Bedouet agreed: “It’s a long-term effort. Last Friday, we had 150 people for the Family sports day in Guadeloupe. But it took us four years to achieve that. The main thing is that the parents come.”

The Ministry of National Education has organized, in partnership with the Saint-Martin Collectivité, the Parents Forum, which will be held on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, at the Elie Gibs school in Grand Case, from 8 am to 12 pm, on the theme "Sports and Health".

Fanny Fontan