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Multi-sectoral action plan to address obesity among youth

Published:Wednesday | July 29, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson (right) listens keenly to Dr Reuben Grajeda (left), adviser of nutrition and social determinants from Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as Chief Medical Officer Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse (second left), PAHO Country Representative Dr Noreen Jack (second right), and Dr Leo Nederveen, technical officer for the Population-based Prevention Unit at the World Health Organization, look on. They were all attending the second day of a two-day workshop for the development of a multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention of childhood and adolescent obesity held at the Mona Visitors’ Lodge on Wednesday, July 29.

Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson expressed his pleasure at the partnership taking place in developing a multi-sectoral action plan for the prevention of childhood and adolescent obesity in Jamaica.

"Obesity is one of the risk factors driving the non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemic, and a multi-sectoral partnership is tantamount to addressing this issue," said the minister.

Dr Ferguson was speaking yesterday on day two of a two-day workshop organised by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organisation to address obesity.

"The importance of targeting our children and adolescents is evident in the information we have from Caribbean Public Health Agency, indicating that at least one in every five of our children are carrying unhealthy weights and are at risk of developing non-communicable diseases later in life," he said.

He further stated, "The plan being developed is guided by the Cabinet-approved National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, 2013-2018."

The workshop, which was held at the Mona Visitors' Lodge on the campus of the University of the West Indies, saw over 50 persons representing different ministries, civil society, non-government organisations and academia. It comes on the heels of the launch of a healthy eating campaign by the University of Technology and a two-day international conference on obesity organised by the Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics.