Civil 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.
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.
- Concept Note and Programme
- Childhood Obesity and Overweight in Barbados and the Caribbean – Burden/Drivers/Key Policy Options – Prof Alafia Samuels, The George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre
- The HCC Regional CSO Response to Childhood Obesity – Mrs. Maisha Hutton, HCC
- The HCC Childhood Obesity Prevention Call to Action – Mrs. Francine Charles, HCC
- The Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Programme (BCHOPP) – Dr. Heather Armstrong, Ministry of Health and Wellness
- Advocacy for Healthier School Environments in Barbados – Mrs. Fiona Anthony, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
- BCNF Perspective: How Breastfeeding Contributes to Childhood Obesity Prevention – Dr. Alison Bernard, Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Foundation Barbados
- Social Media as an Educational and Advocacy Tool – Mrs. Sheena Warner-Edwards, HCC
If you are interested in joining this coalition please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More images from the consultation.