Students from middle schools across Qatar learned vital messages about protecting their health when they took part in a poster competition organised by Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s Sahtak AwalanYour Health First campaign.

More than 350 students from 35 middle schools participated in the Sahtak Awalan Poster Competition, which challenged the students to research a pressing public health issue and then present their findings in poster form. More than 420 posters were submitted.

After the posters were judged by a panel of WCM-Q physicians and faculty members, 25 students from eight schools were awarded trophies and mountain bikes for their exceptional posters. Certificates of Achievement were presented to all participating students and student coordinators in acknowledgement of the very high standard of all entries.

Nesreen Al-Rifai, Chief Communications Officer for WCM-Q, said they were extremely impressed by the hard work the students put into researching their posters and the artistic flair and invention they showed with their designs.

Not only did the students demonstrate what they have learned about following healthy lifestyles, they also showed they have been inspired and energised to care for their health, which is a key goal of the Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First campaign.’

The students awarded with trophies and mountain bikes represented the following schools: Salah Eddine Al Ayoubi Independent Preparatory School for Boys, Al Ahnaf Bin Qais Independent Preparatory School for Boys, Audio Complex Center for Boys, Audio Complex Center for Girls, Al Hammad International Developed School, Al Manar International School, Qatar Leadership Academy, and English Modern School Al Khor.

Dr Mohamud Verjee, Associate Professor of Family Medicine at WCM-Q, presented the trophies and mountain bikes to the winners at an awards ceremony held at WCM-Q.

Students presented posters on a wide range of health topics including road safety, dangers of smoking, obesity, the health risks associated with poor diet, the increasing prevalence of type-2 diabetes, and the negative impact on health of excessive consumption of refined sugar, among many others.

Student Abdulla Bandar, 15, of Salah Eddine Al Ayoubi Independent Preparatory School for Boys said they presented a poster about traffic accidents because according to data from a government website, this is one the leading causes of death in Qatar.

We wanted to create something that tells everyone to slow down and take care on the roads so that everyone can be safe. It was good fun and we learned a lot.’

Lydia Elija, 15, of Al Manar International School, created a poster about the benefits of exercise and how it can protect people from becoming obese.

I put my own experiences into my poster to explain that exercise strengthens the circulatory system, the respiratory system and your muscles, as well as make you feel happier. It also fights obesity. My favourite ways to exercise include playing football, basketball and volleyball. But it really doesn’t matter as long as you find something you love.’

Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First is WCM-Q’s innovative public health campaign that aims to promote and facilitate healthy lifestyles across the whole of the community, with a special emphasis on young people.

Hoda Al-Siblani , science teacher at Al Manar International School said the research the students did for the posters enhanced their scientific knowledge of health issues and made them think deeply and analytically about the impact diet and exercise has on their own lives.

For more information on the Sahtak Awalan – Your Health First campaign, visit sahtakawalan.com.