Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Tufton calls for banning of sodas in schools

Published:Wednesday | March 22, 2017 | 3:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, speaks with students at the launch of the National Dental Sealant Programme at the Clan Carthy Primary School on Deanery Road in Kingston yesterday.

A move by Trinidad and Tobago to ban sodas in public schools was supported by Jamaica's health minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, who indicated that once he got the approval from Cabinet, a similar course of action would happen locally.

Trinidad's health minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, announced that as of April, the sale of soft drinks in government schools will be banned.

Speaking at the launch of the National Dental Sealant Programme, which was held at the Clan Carthy Primary School in Kingston, he said that too many persons were afflicted with ailments that could have been prevented.

"I am all for restricting some of these products that are available in the school system. This is my personal view. We are going to be radical about it and I am going to be very vocal. I have not got the absolute permission from Cabinet and the prime minister, who is the executive arm of Government, but I am going to put it forward," Tufton declared.

"Barbados has a sugar tax that they apply to the sugar content in sugary products, and if you look elsewhere, the WHO (World Health Organization), for example, it is now a trend. When we look at the health status of our population and the causes of some of those lifestyle diseases, I believe overexcess of sugar will lead to consequences which make it no different from what tobacco is causing on our nation and what it used to be 20 years ago before legislation."

The minister stressed also that commercial entities should join the fight and find ways of creating healthier alternatives.

"For those in the commercial spheres who have to use these inputs in your products, I'm not suggesting that their products will no longer have a market, because Government is going to legislate it away. What I am suggesting is that we need to get to the point where good corporate social responsibility should be demonstrated in the need to promote healthier alternatives to products that ultimately lead to long-term lifestyle ailments," he said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com