JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), is hosting a two-day workshop for the development of a multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention of childhood and adolescent obesity.
  • The goal of the workshop is to prepare a draft National Action Plan aligned with the Regional Plan of Action on the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents and the National Non-Communicable Disease Strategic Plan.
  • It is being conducted at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge on the University of the West Indies (UWI0, Mona campus on July 28 and 29.

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), is hosting a two-day workshop for the development of a multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention of childhood and adolescent obesity.

The goal of the workshop is to prepare a draft National Action Plan aligned with the Regional Plan of Action on the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents and the National Non-Communicable Disease Strategic Plan.

It is being conducted at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge on the University of the West Indies (UWI0, Mona campus on July 28 and 29.

Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock-Ducasse, in a keynote presentation on behalf of portfolio Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said a 2003 study, which tracked the Body Mass Index (BMI) of Jamaican children at 7 – 8 years, and then at 11 – 12 years, revealed that obesity rates for the participants increased from 3.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent after follow-up.

“These are very worrying indicators of the future health problems that we will potentially face if we do not take action now since we know that childhood obesity will most likely persist into adult obesity, which leads to non-communicable diseases,” she said.

Dr. Bullock-Ducasse pointed out that for the last three decades, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have emerged as the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Jamaica, adding that recent national surveys have documented an increase in the four major behavioral risk factors and NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity among adults.

“The regional target requires us to halt and reverse the rise in obesity in children by 2025 in keeping with the global target to reduce premature deaths from NCDs in the general population by 25 per cent by that same year,” she said.

Objectives outlined for the workshop include the presentation of secondary data on country capacity and existing initiatives to prevent obesity in children and adolescents and the review of preparatory information for the High Level Regional Consultation of the WHO Commission on Childhood Obesity.

In October 2014, the Ministers of Health of the Americas approved a Plan of Action for the Prevention of Obesity in Children and Adolescents at the 53rd Directing Council of the PAHO. The overall goal of the Plan is to halt the rise of the rapidly growing epidemic in children and adolescents.

Senior Director for Children’s Affairs in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Grace Ann Stewart-McFarlane, in bringing remarks on behalf of the Hon. Lisa Hanna, said the Ministry continues to do its part through the implementation of policies and other social programmes to foster healthy lifestyle practices among children and adults alike.

“We are mindful that more needs to be done and we are confident that this workshop will provide meaningful feedback that will help to chart the way forward,” she said.