JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda, noting the increase in obesity worldwide, has said that Jamaicans must be encouraged to be more careful about what they eat and drink.
The Minister, in his message to mark World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) today (March 15) under the theme: ‘Junk Food Generation: Unhealthy Food Promotion: Unhealthy Children’ said that “obesity is now a global crisis, with roughly 22 million children under the age of five years being 30 per cent above their recommended weight.”
The Minister added that statistics from the Ministry of Health confirmed that in Jamaica, a quarter of teenagers are overweight.
In terms of associated illnesses, Minister Samuda pointed out that lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are increasing faster in low and middle-income countries, like Jamaica. Additionally, he noted that such diseases can “affect our children’s ability to learn and achieve their full potential.”
He appealed to manufacturers and distributors of processed food and beverages, to provide nutritionally sound products and to be ethical in the manner in which these items are promoted in the market.
He advised consumers of all ages to “practice consumerism as a way of life by seeking out alternatives, which cost less but are nutritionally sound.”
“The government will work with local consumer groups and Consumers International to protect our consumers but more particularly, our young people, from the junk food generation syndrome,” he said.
An annual observance since 1983, World Consumer Rights Day is an opportunity to focus on and solidify the national and international consumer movement. During this time, special efforts are undertaken to promote the basic rights of all consumers and to demand that those rights are respected and protected. The day also presents an opportunity to highlight and protect marketplace abuses, which threaten to undermine consumer rights.
This year’s theme highlights the issue of unhealthy consumption, the promotion and marketing of junk food to children, and the consequences of obesity, diabetes and irreversible illnesses, which are elements of poor nutrition and a lack of proper exercise and diet.

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