Brazil’s federal government launched last week the Healthy Brazil project, aimed at encouraging Brazilians to practice sports and adopt healthy habits.
“We shall provide funds for municipalities to create public facilities to encourage the practice of physical activities, as well as to control tobacco consumption,” explained Otaliba Libânio, director of the Ministry of Health’s Department of Analysis of Health Conditions.
The Ministry will make US$ 3.3 million (8.7 million reais) available for the creation of 230 nuclei of physical activities throughout the country, by the end of 2006.
These spaces will serve as community fitness centers, where people will be able to practice sports under the guidance of physical education instructors.
The nuclei will also have nutritionists to provide information on healthy eating habits. All the services will be free.
“Beginning in the second half of the year, we shall be offering municipalities the resources to implement the Healthy Brazil program and to prepare a range of activities to promote health,” Libânio affirmed.
The director pointed out that diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes are the chief causes of hospitalizations in Brazil.
“There are factors that cause these diseases, such as sedentary habits and inadequate diet. Therefore, if you influence these factors through actions such as the Healthy Brazil program, you reduce disease,” she said.
A study by the Ministry of Health shows that, on average, 40% of Brazilian adults are sedentary. Moreover, over 40% of the population was found to be overweight. The study was conducted in 2003 in 16 Brazilian capitals.
The project was launched in Brasília with the presence of Ministers of Health, Humberto Costa, Sports, Agnelo Queiroz, and Social Development, Patrus Ananias.
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