Sun | Oct 22, 2017

CARIBBEAN WELLNESS WEEK 2016 | Healthy children need healthy environments

Published:Wednesday | September 14, 2016 | 12:11 AM

This year, children are the focus for Caribbean Wellness Week, under the theme ‘Healthy Children in Healthy Environments’.

CARICOM has recognised the important to focus on children, with the belief that young people have the right to grow up in an environment that promotes their wellbeing, fostering good diet and exercise habits that start them on the road to a long and healthy life.

However, with too many children now being diagnosed with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), it has become even more critical to get them to start healthy lifestyle practices from an early age. In every CARICOM state, more than one in ten children is obese, with less than a third of school pupils achieving the recommended levels of physical activity.

CARICOM Heads of Government have recognised the urgency of the situation and in their July 2016 meeting pledged to address, among other issues, “…banning advertisement of potentially harmful foods which specifically target children; and elevating taxes on foods high in sugar, salt and trans-fats.”

FITS WELL WITH THEME

This emphasis on children’s health fits well within the overarching theme of Caribbean Wellness Week for the next three years proposed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). From 2016-2019, CARPHA recommends that Caribbean Wellness Week be aligned with the Port of Spain Declaration NCD Agenda.

Since 2008, on every second Saturday in September people, organisations and communities from all over the region have come together for Caribbean Wellness Day to strengthen the all-of-society response to NCDs, promoting healthy living, activities and programmes that support wellness. This special day for health was mandated by the 2007 CARICOM Heads of Government Port of Spain Declaration on NCDs.