National School Nutrition Policy being finalized
Education ministry in final stages of National School Nutrition Policy.
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is in the final stages of the proposed National School Nutrition Policy.
Minister of Education, Youth and information Minister Ruel Reid said the ministry decided ahead of the completed policy document to roll out the restrictions on sugary drinks.
He said the government was keen on inculcating healthy choices among youth from the earliest years.
“By educating our children who through our zero to thirteen strategy – focusing on the earliest years – it will engender a culture where making wise health decisions becomes the norm,” Reid said.
The minister was speaking at a recently held forum on 'Sugars, Other Carbohydrates and Fats - Their Contribution to Obesity… and Effective Solutions', presented by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston.
The restrictions and other aspects of the nutrition policy are in line with new guidelines introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO).
At the forum, representative for the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) for Jamaica, Cayman Islands and Bermuda, Dr Bernadette Theodore- Gandi spoke to some of the guidelines.
“In both adults and children, the intake of free sugars should be reduced to less than 10 per cent of the total energy intake.” She added that a further reduction, to below five per cent would produce additional health benefits.
Meanwhile, Professor Frank Hu, Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health of the spoke to the alarming rise of childhood obesity in the U.S., which is beginning to also be reflected in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
“The problem of childhood obesity has almost quadrupled, from around 4% in the 1970s, to almost 20 per cent currently, and as has been alluded to, childhood obesity in Jamaica has increased dramatically over the past two decades.”
Obesity has recently been linked to the development f several cancers – including colo-rectal and breast cancers – as well as being a longstanding factor in diabetes, heart disease and stroke.