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  • Jamaica has joined six other Caribbean countries in implementing its own dietary guidelines with the aim of improving the nutritional well-being of citizens.
  • Speaking at the official launch today (March 25), at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said the guidelines are intended to be used as a tool for nutrition education and behaviour change.
  • The Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica, form part of efforts by the Government to provide nutrition and health-related recommendations to promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle in the population.

Jamaica has joined six other Caribbean countries in implementing its own dietary guidelines with the aim of improving the nutritional well-being of citizens.

The Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica, form part of efforts by the Government to provide nutrition and health-related recommendations to promote healthy eating habits and lifestyle in the population.

The guidelines are outlined on an easy to read and brightly illustrated nutritional chart, which contain common foods in Jamaica, how these can be incorporated in a healthy and balanced diet, and the portion to be consumed from each food group – vegetables, fruits, staples, fats and oils, legumes and nuts, and food from animals. The nutritional guidelines also promote active living through various physical activities.

Speaking at the official launch today (March 25), at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said the guidelines are intended to be used as a tool for nutrition education and behaviour change.

He said they are based on sound scientific principles and knowledge of local conditions. He is encouraging Jamaicans to adopt the guidelines to eat well and be well”.

“We need to encourage persons to have the desire to want to eat healthy so that optimal nutrition and health are promoted. The methods of food storage, processing and preparation influence the nutritional value of foods and must be included in the education process,” he added.

The Minister further noted that the guidelines cannot work in a vacuum, pointing out that in order for success, one has to address other lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity and smoking.

The guidelines are in keeping with Government’s efforts to address the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Jamaica.

On Tuesday (March 24), the Ministry launched a physical activity guide and toolkit for the workplace, which aims to establish workplaces as supportive environments that can facilitate persons receiving the most or all of the recommended physical activity for the day.

Dr. Ferguson said the issue of NCDs is a major health problem, with the World Health Organization estimating that NCDs kill 38 million people each year.

“The world is grappling with a preponderance of unhealthy lifestyle practices such as unhealthy diets, which may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids, obesity and conversely, food insecurity and hunger. Low and middle-income countries like Jamaica are witnessing the fastest rise in overweight in young children,” he stated.

The Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica are to: eat a variety of foods from all the food groups daily; eat a variety of fruits daily; eat a variety of vegetables daily; include peas, beans and nuts in daily meals; reduce intake of salty and processed foods; reduce intake of fats and oils; reduce intake of sugary foods and drinks; and make physical activity a part of your daily routine.