Mon | Sep 24, 2018

Wean kids off sweet seduction

Published:Tuesday | April 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM


April 7 was commemorated as World Health Day, and this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) used the occasion to focus on diabetes.

According to the WHO, an estimated 422 million people in the world have diabetes and the prevalence is growing, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively used the insulin it produces.

The Jamaican population is getting fatter, as we do less exercise and consume more sugar and fats in our diet. More and more of our children are obese by the time they leave secondary schools.

We need more than a public education campaign to sensitise our citizens to the dangers of consuming too much sugar. Many countries have found creative ways to educate their population about the negative side of sugar. The United Kingdom, for example, has imposed a soda tax depending on the sugar content. Drinks with total sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres will be affected by the levy, with a higher rate for drinks with more than 8g.

The consumption of sugar and fat play a critical role in obesity and diabetes, and as such, the Government must lead the fight in reducing both. A good place to begin this message of eating less sugar and fat and doing more exercise is with our children.