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

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.”

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CARICOM Heads renew commitment to tackle NCDs

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Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have given a renewed commitment to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in their countries. The matter was raised by  Prime Minister Mitchell during the closing press conference of the  38th CARICOM Summit, in Grand Anse, Grenada. In speaking to the issue, Prime Minister Mitchell  highlighted that it had been 10 years since the historic Port-of-Spain Declaration on NCDs.

The Grenadian Prime Minister said the Heads were aware that the Region had  fallen behind in the battle against these deadly diseases and also in fulfilling the goals of the declaration.  He said one of the most alarming signs was the high incidents of childhood obesity, a major risk factor for NCDs

“We simply cannot afford to continue the lifestyle and food consumption patterns which are literally killing us”, he said.


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What’s the picture a decade after signing Declaration on NCDs?

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Diet and nutrition are key to preventing NCDs
Diet and nutrition are key to preventing NCDs

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the signing of the landmark CARICOM Heads of Government Port-of-Spain Declaration on non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Thirty-Eighth CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in St. George’s, Grenada, July 4-6, is expected to celebrate this momentous achievement. In 2007, the Caribbean led the world in convening the very first conference of Heads of Government on NCDs which in turn paved the way for the United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs in 2011.

A ten-year anniversary is a good time to take stock, to look at how far we have come and how far we need to go. In terms of progress made in the NCD response, the picture appears to be a decidedly mixed one. Awareness of NCDs and their devastating effect on the health and development of the region has grown enormously. The dangers of childhood obesity are much better known. Barbados and Dominica have introduced taxes on sugary drinks and more countries are set to follow.

According to Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr. James Hospedales, “while several governments have made policy and financial provision for free medications, oftentimes people don’t take their medicines consistently and therefore don’t get the benefit.”

Regarding some of the other challenges Dr. Hospedales said “there are gains in some areas however some, like diet/nutrition/obesity just keep getting worse, and that drives diabetes, cancer, heart disease.’

CARICOM Heads of Government at the Port-of-Spain Summit
CARICOM Heads of Government at the Port-of-Spain Summit

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