Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition Consultation

by Ian Pitts

Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition ConsultationCivil society is leading the charge to start a National Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition in Barbados. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB) and the The Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Foundation of Barbados (BCNF) partnered with the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) on Friday July 20th to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to explore the formation of a national coalition to advocate for policies aimed at reducing childhood overweight and obesity.

Much like the rest of the Caribbean, waistlines of Barbadian children are expanding with 1 in every 3 children being overweight or obese. Against the background of current patterns of excessive sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption, low levels of physical activity, poor breastfeeding rates and the absence of a comprehensive national policy response to this emerging epidemic, overweight and obesity rates among Barbadian children will only grow. The HCC, HSFB and BCNF recognise that the local 10% SSB tax is insufficient and needs to be complemented with a suite of anti-obesity policies such as the SSB School Ban implemented in Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago and planned for Jamaica. As has happened in Jamaica, through the Heart Foundation of Jamaica – multistakeholder, multisectoral coalitions have the power to dramatically increase public knowledge and demand for obesity prevention policies.

Prof. Alafia Samuels

Prof. Alafia Samuels, Policy and Practice Advisor at HCC presented on the burden and drivers of COP

Mr. Neil Brennen

Mr. Neil Brennen, Managing Director of Human Resources, FCIB/CIBC, committed to action on COP

Through the consultation, the HSFB and the BCNF sought to engage a diverse group of actors including traditional health and non-health CSOs, academia, youth advocates, the media, the Ministry of Health, The Ministry of Education, PAHO, the Barbados Workers Union, paediatricians, health care professionals, and the private sector.  At the end of the half day consultation, there was consensus around the need for a coalition with a focus on policies aimed at preventing the sale and marketing of unhealthy processed foods in schools and the introduction of workplace policies to promote increased breastfeeding. Co-leaders were identified to move the process forward and plans are underway to engage additional stakeholders and begin work on joint activities.

Resources:

If you are interested in joining this coalition please contact us at hcc@healthycaribbean.org.

More images from the consultation.

You may also like

Send this to a friend