Beyond the Call to Action Event: Towards School Policies in Support of Childhood Obesity Prevention, took place on Tuesday November 20th, 2018, United Nations Universal Children’s Day, at the Hilton Hotel, Barbados. The following was written by Pierre Cooke Jnr. who took part in the meeting and specifically in the parallel Youth Session.
Over the last few months I have been doing a lot of research on the topic of Childhood Obesity and Non-Communicable diseases. This came after I attended the first meeting of the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition in July. I left with many questions that I needed answers to ‘What’s the best way to go about childhood obesity?’, ‘Who should lead the charge?’, ‘What are some strategies that worked?’, and ‘What can I do?’ You can imagine my excitement when I was invited to a session on Tuesday November 20th, which focused on the creation of policies in support of Childhood Obesity Prevention.
I was heartened to see persons of my age group involved in the conversation.
Clearly, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and Heart and Stroke Foundation recognize the indispensable value of us youth within the Non-communicable disease space, in harnessing, guiding and incubating behavior change with ideas driven by us, aimed at preventing NCD’S in a way our peers would understand.
From the outset, it seemed to be a promising event and my expectations were fulfilled with each new presentation that came to fore. I learned a lot about sustainable NCD prevention, management and treatment.
The striking highlight for me from the forum were the staggering statistics provided, especially those given by Dr Simone Spence of the Ministry of Health, Jamaica opened my eyes to the impact NCD’s are having across the region and the effects childhood obesity can have on our societies if not properly addressed.
Truthfully, I never took a calculated look at how my eating habits and lifestyle were affecting my productivity both in school and my social life. It was only after presented with a some thought provoking questions in the parallel youth forum that it dawned on me, our chance for success are determined by our physical and mental health.
I really think it’s important to establish NCDs and Childhood Obesity as priorities in ensuring the sustainability of our nation
Promotion of healthy eating practices, regular physical activity and new standards for school lunches should also be strategically implemented into schools through a multi-faceted approach from both private and public sector.
I salute the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the Heart and Stroke Foundation for their initiative in having this discussion and including me.
I am eager to learn how to better represent the voices of those who suffer NCDs and Childhood obesity in silence and confident that the involvement of myself and other young persons in youth advocacy would reap immense success. I saw members of one Caribbean tackle issues in their countries. The ownership of these issue by them as a collective gives me hope that when we come together and work together, our voice will be stronger and our work together will allow for change in the region.
Pictures from the youth session can be seen below and more from the event can be found here.
Photos by Studio Studio, Carl Blenman.