Irresponsible advertising by Sagicor
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I am disturbed by a Sagicor advertisement that appeared on February 4, 2015 in this newspaper. The advertisement shows a young boy smiling from ear to ear while holding an oversize cookie from which he had taken a bite. The caption above the picture read 'Sagicor SIGMA Funds; Just Got Sweeter'.
The choice of imagery is unfortunate. There is a growing body of scientific literature that makes a link between the consumption of refined sugar and obesity, which, in turn, increases the risk of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Studies conducted in the USA have shown an increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes among younger members of the population. This has led to campaigns aimed at reducing sugary drinks and foods in schools and children's hospitals. It is quite likely that a similar trend exists in Jamaica given the amount of sugary food and drink our children consume.
It is irresponsible for a company with the stature and influence of Sagicor to be sending subliminal messages to parents and children that suggest that consuming foods loaded with empty calories is somehow OK. A better option might have been to show the child eating a sweet Jamaican fruit such as a banana or a naseberry. While fruits do contain sugar, the presence of fibre, healthy carbohydrates, and vitamins make them a better choice as a sweet treat.
Sagicor should not undermine its record as a good corporate citizen by appearing to be encouraging dietary habits that are ultimately detrimental to our children.