Laws regulating sugar content next target for Ja Moves - PM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that the next step in the Jamaica Moves campaign will be to take legislation to Parliament to regulate the sugar content in food products.
But before that, he said, persons will have to be educated about the ill effects of some of the foods they consume daily.
He was addressing a large crowd that had gathered at Bargain Village Shopping Centre in May Pen on Thursday for the final in the series of Jamaica Moves road tours hosted by the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) and the Ministry of Health.
Holness encouraged the citizens of Clarendon to take better care of themselves by exercising daily and eating healthy and also cautioned them against smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
"Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and stroke, are linked to our lifestyle and how we choose to live. We eat rice, yam, dumpling, and banana on one plate, and all of that is starch, which converts to sugar. When you have too much of that, and you are not exercising, you start to put on weight," he pointed out.
"We want all Jamaicans to be healthy. We recommend 30 minutes a day of relatively easy exercise such as walking in the morning or 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, which is good for all of us."
The prime minister noted that he, too, had recently embarked on a healthier lifestyle by eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners from his diet and was encouraging all Jamaicans to either cut down or cut out sugar. He said that he had also reduced his fat intake.
EAT MORE FRUITS, VEGETABLES
"I am also encouraging you to eat more fruits and vegetables like callaloo and cabbage. We, as a Government, are not just looking at the economy, roads, and crime, but we take your health very seriously and are taking the message to you," he said.
He commended health minister Dr Christopher Tufton for doing an excellent job with the Jamaica Moves campaign and for practising what he preached by exercising daily.
Holness later joined Tufton Mayor of May Pen Winston Maragh, and councillors in leading the crowd in a 20-minute workout.
Tufton encouraged all attendees to move and participate in the evening's activities because "we are trying to get every Jamaican to understand the relationship between physical activity and healthy lifestyle".
"We have too many Jamaicans dying of heart failure, diabetes, and arthritis because they sit too much, eat badly, and before they reach 70, they have to take five to six tablets and live at the hospital and doctor. We don't want that," he said.
The health minister noted that "public health is not just about hospitals, but encouraging Jamaicans to live healthy lives."