Saint Lucia Ministry of Health to regulate sale of soft drinks

soft drinkThe Ministry of Health and Wellness (of Saint Lucia) is embarking on a campaign to discontinue the sale of soda pop, or soft drinks on school compounds.

The highly sweetened fizzy drink is known to have disastrous effects on health. Regular consumption of soda is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, cavities among others.

On Nov. 23, Chief Nutritionist Lisa Hunt Mitchell hosted one of several meetings with school principals from Districts 5, 6 and 7 to discuss the best way to reduce the consumption of soda among the youth. She said the intention is not to place a hole in the pockets of the local manufacturers, but instead, to ensure a healthier nation.

“We are aware of the negative impacts of soft drinks, so the Ministry of Health is engaging school principals, so that they can be supportive in trying to curtail the sale of soft drinks at the schools. We want to encourage the children to drink more water, instead of juices or soft drinks. Sweetened beverages are bad for the health in general, but soft drinks have added ingredients such as caffeine, phosphoric acid, and colourings that are far worse. These ingredients have very negative effects on the health.”

Read more at: Government of Saint Lucia

Obesity, physical inactivity put women at excess risk of diabetes

Diabetes: a blood glucose test is used to check the level of sugar in the blood of this woman. Photo: WHO/PAHO/Sebastián Oliel
Diabetes: a blood glucose test is used to check the level of sugar in the blood of this woman. Photo: WHO/PAHO/Sebastián Oliel

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 17 November 2017.   Diabetes, a major contributor to premature death, is estimated to affect 10-15% of the adult population in the Caribbean Region. The disease is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke and responsible for high rates of complications, such as lower limb amputation.

The risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes are obesity (Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥30), abdominal obesity, physical inactivity, tobacco smoking, unhealthy diets and metabolic syndrome. Obesity is the strongest modifiable risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes in the Caribbean.

CARPHA Director for Surveillance, Prevention and Control Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg has said, “Studies have revealed that women in the Caribbean have higher rates of obesity in terms of BMIs compared to men.  They also have higher rates of abdominal obesity, and likely to be 3 times more obese than men.” She also stated that, “Obesity and physical inactivity put women at excess risk of diabetes. This is confirmed by the very high levels of diabetes among women in the Region.”  (more…)

Get active, diet, to reduce NCDs – PM Holness

Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging the regional populace to get active and diet to reduce non communicable diseases (NCDs).

See the Facebook post the Prime Minister made earlier today (Wednesday 12 July, 2017):

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Urgent action required to curb chronic NCDs – PM Harris

Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 11, 2017 (SKNIS):  Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) continue to take a toll on CARICOM Member States, and urgent action is required to curb the threat of such diseases, said Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during National Assembly on Tuesday, July 11.

Prime Minister Harris was updating the general public and the listening audience on the 38th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, held in Grenada from July 4-6, where he was given the opportunity to present a study on the economic ramifications of NCDs as it relates to Trinidad and Tobago. A similar study was also done in Barbados and Jamaica.

“The study estimated that five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is being lost by the impact of preventable diabetes, hypertension and cancer. Half of that five per cent is direct medical care cost and the other half is in the loss of productivity,” said Prime Minister Harris, adding that if one was to examine the growth pattern of Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region over the last 10 plus years, they would not find that the country would have grown by five percent.

“Therefore, when in fact five per cent of the economy is being impacted negatively with respect to NCDs, this is a major cause for concern. The costs here are significant and they are as unsustainable for any country. Importantly, these diseases are preventable impediments to growth.”

(more…)

Free trade taking toll on health of Caribbean school children

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Senior Medical Officer of Grenada’s Ministry of Health, Dr Francis Martin (left) and St. Lucian parliamentarian, Moses Jn, Baptiste. (Photo via Demerara Waves)
Senior Medical Officer of Grenada’s Ministry of Health, Dr Francis Martin (left) and Saint Lucian parliamentarian, Moses Jn, Baptiste. (Photo via Demerara Waves)

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands, Demerara Waves – Caribbean health and education experts have lamented the impact of free trade on the consumption of certain foods and beverages that are badly affecting the health of the region’s children.

Senior Medical Officer of Grenada’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Francis Martin said the reality is that many Caribbean schools are cash-strapped and so they turn to sponsors to support sporting competitions. Those sponsors, he said, then provide unhealthy sugar-based drinks to players.

“It’s an issue of finance because countries, because of all these trade deals that are being signed, these countries cannot say, they cannot ban certain things and the truth is those persons already know the dangerous health benefits to these foods but precedent is set all around,” he told a panel discussion on Governance and Public Policy for Food and Nutrition Security Sustainable School Feeding Programmes.

The discussion was one of several such for a that is part of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture being held in the Cayman Islands from October 24 to 29, 2016. Sponsored by the Netherlands-based Centre for Technical Cooperation and Rural Agriculture (CTA), the event among other things aims to promote the sustainable production and consumption of healthy foods by the Caribbean for the Caribbean. These include roots and tubers and fruits and vegetables that experts say help to reduce the development of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments that in turn take a heavy toll on countries’ national budgets.

Martin noted that people are more likely to demonstrate if there is a shortage of pharmaceutical supplies are unfulfilled but fail to do so against the large quantities of imported fast foods.

“We don’t so we ourselves are the hypocrites. We got to stand up and say ‘no’,” he said.

Read More: Demerara Waves