Our Health, Our Right – A Rights-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda for the Caribbean

by HCC

graphic representation of young people

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and Healthy Caribbean Youth (HCY) are pleased to present ‘Our Health, Our Right – A Rights-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda for the Caribbean’, a tool for young people seeking to advocate for urgent government action on the epidemic of childhood overweight and obesity in the Caribbean using a rights-based lens.

The Caribbean has some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world. Unlike other NCDs that are more common in adulthood, more children and young people are living with overweight and obesity and experiencing the associated physical and mental healthcomplications. Further, overweight and obesity in childhood often tracks into adulthood, increasing the risk of developing NCDs later in life.

Given the implications of childhood obesity for their generation, it is important that young people are equipped with the tools and information needed to advocate for healthier environments and hold Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders to their commitments to protect the best interest of their citizens, especially those persons and groups in conditions of vulnerability, including children.

Pierre Cooke Jr.

Today young people worldwide are stepping up to the plate to lead the charge against global challenges that threaten their future. We see them in the fight for climate resilience, the calls for peace and most recently, in the fight against NCDs. This Rights-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda is a companion tool to help young people develop advocacy skills in childhood obesity prevention. It incorporates legal principles of international law and uses the basis of fundamental human rights as a foundation for health advocacy. At each step of the manual, young people are provided with policy suggestions geared towards preventing, treating, and managing childhood obesity. By following it, young people can enhance their advocacy in this space and create a better future for themselves and their peers.

Pierre Cooke Jr, HCC Technical Advisor and Primary author of ‘Our Health, Our Right – A Rights-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda for the Caribbean’

‘Our Health, Our Right – A Rights-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda for the Caribbean’ provides: an overview of rights-based advocacy, relevant health rights, a list of youth-informed asks to guide the prevention, treatment care and support of children living with overweight and obesity, and guidance on how policymakers can better engage and support youth who live with this condition and are advocating for this cause. The tool also provides a related case study and list of advocacy resources.

The Agenda builds on the HCC Civil Society Action Plan 2017-2021: Preventing Childhood Obesity in the Caribbean (CSAP) which provides HCC member civil society organizations (CSOs) with a framework for CSO-led action in support of national and regional responses to combat childhood obesity as well as HCCs Transformative New NCD Agenda (TNA-NCDs) which proposes a fresh approach to NCD reduction and treatment underpinned by principles of equity and human rights and driven by social activism by critical groups including young people.

The Agenda also compliments an existing youth resource – ‘Youth Voices in Health Advocacy Spaces: A Guide for You(th) in the Childhood Obesity Space’ that was co-developed by The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and World Obesity Federation (WOF) and launched in 2021. This resource is for young people who are ready (or have already started) to explore the world of advocacy, especially those who are interested in advocating for childhood obesity prevention and environments that prioritise and protect children’s health. The toolkit is also valuable for youth allies who are dedicated to supporting youth in their advocacy work.

View and download ‘Our Health, Our Right – A Rights-Based Childhood Obesity Prevention Agenda for the Caribbean’ here.

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