In addition to spotlighting the need to care for the children who live with obesity, youth also explored the multisectoral, intergenerational, whole of society approach needed to address childhood obesity, particularly in the unique contexts of small Island Developing States (SIDS). On March 7th, the Healthy Caribbean Youth in partnership with the Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network (JYAN), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and its youth arm the Jamaica Health Advocates Youth Arm hosted a webinar – Different Voices – One Goal – Youth Perspective on Next Steps for Childhood Obesity in SIDS.
The panelists from the Caribbean and Pacific SIDS, Taahir Bulbulia (Youth Advocate, Barbados – POV: Sport/Business), Priyanka Lalla (Healthy Caribbean Youth and UNICEF Child Rights Ambassador, Trinidad – POV: Climate Change), David Johnson (Let’s Unpack It, Barbados – POV: Mental HEalth), Elizabeth Kite (Take The Lead, Tonga, Kingdom of Tonga – POV: Youth Advocacy ) and Alex Johnson (University of Technology Association of Dietetics and Nutrition students, Jamaica – POV: Nutrition), guided by the moderator Shereika Mills (Advocacy and Policy Coordinator, JYAN) explored how their sectors are interconnected, and how important it is to band together to drive meaningful change that will ultimately protect children’s right to health.
Here is what they had to say:
This youth-led conversation was critical given the recently concluded SIDS meeting on NCDs and Mental Health in January 2023 and the upcoming SIDS Heads of Government meeting on the same issue in June 2023. Youth contributed to the discussion paper that the HCC in partnership with other civil society across SIDS developed in preparation for the January 2023 meeting that will guide discussions for the upcoming meeting.
In concluding the event and recognizing the importance of the panelists’ solutions that spanned generations and sectors, Danielle Walwyn (Advocacy Officer and Coordinator of Healthy Caribbean Youth) noted,
I am hopeful that all audience members take lessons learned here. Our actions in our own spheres of work can have implications and can strengthen and advance the work of other sectors. Given our low resource settings in SIDS – these innovative solutions and perspectives are exactly what we need to hit 2030 targets –whether the sustainable development goals or action on obesity via the WHO Acceleration Plan to STOP Obesity.
The theme for WOD 2023 was to change perspectives – and by having conversations like these – ones that broaden the discussion and move past siloed action – we can continue to shift the narrative and solutions around obesity. Our children deserve that and so much more.”
The Healthy Caribbean Youth looks forward to strengthening relationships with youth across SIDS to amplify the youth voices and action through the development of a SIDS youth network.
Different Voices – One Goal – Youth Perspective on Next Steps for Childhood Obesity in SIDS – was one step toward this goal.