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Stronger partnership needed to tackle growing threat of unhealthy eating that leads NCDs

Published:Monday | August 3, 2015 | 7:23 PM

Seventy per cent of deaths in Jamaica in 2010 were due to non-communicable diseases. This was stressed by Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson as he indicated that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) remain very high within the Jamaican population and may be increasing.

He stated that confronting this challenge will require a stronger partnership as unhealthy diets are among the four major behavioural risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

"Tackling non-communicable diseases in Jamaica will require a forceful response and the involvement and full engagement of non-health sectors, industry, civil society, institutions and other partners, to tackle the growing threat posed by unhealthy eating which leads to the development of NCDs," said the minister.

Ferguson explained that most populations consume much higher levels of salt than recommended for disease prevention; high salt consumption is an important determinant of high blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. High consumption of saturated fats and trans-fatty acids is linked to heart disease.


"Our interest in health is for Jamaicans to observe a healthy lifestyle towards achieving the National Development Goal of a healthy and stable population by 2030, and educating our people has become even more critical in order to create that behaviour change for optimal nutritional intake," he said.

Non-communicable diseases are caused mainly by four behavioural risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity, and the harmful use of alcohol.

Last week, the University of Technology launched the Healthy Eating campaign in Jamaica along with the Consumers Affairs Commission and several other partners.