Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Jamaica has new dietary guidelines to promote healthy eating

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson (centre) unveils the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines during the official launch recently. He is accompanied by Denise McFarlane (left) health specialist, Planning Institute of Jamaica and Dr. Pauline Samuda, consultant nutritionist.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new National Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaicans, with the aim to improve nutritional well-being and food consumption, as well as to provide the required nutrients to promote health and prevent chronic diseases.

The new guidelines encourage individuals to: (1) eat a variety of foods from all the food groups daily, (2) eat a variety of fruits daily, (3) eat a variety of vegetables daily, (4) include peas, beans and nuts in your daily meals, (5) reduce intake of salty and processed foods, (6) reduce intake of fats and oils, (7) reduce intake of sugary foods and drinks and (8) make physical activity a part of your daily routine.

Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson said, "The Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica are developed in an effort to provide nutrition and health-related recommendations to encourage healthy eating habits and lifestyle, such as physical activity, as well as to promote our own Jamaican foods, portion sizes, food groups and eating patterns in order to provide the required nutrients to promote health and prevent chronic diseases."

He explained that the world is grappling with a predominance 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 added.

The Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica is a pictorial representation with a set of nutrition and health-related recommendations intended to be used as a tool for nutrition education and behaviour change by health providers, teachers, media, students, researchers and others working directly with the public.