Lionel Town Hospital pushing nutrition one bite at a time
Doctors at the Lionel Town Hospital in Clarendon are staging a two-day symposium in a bid to address the improper dieting of patients.
The symposium, which is being held under the theme ‘Bite by Bite, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living’, will conclude today and gives residents of Lionel Town and surrounding areas the opportunity to interact with the nutrition team at the hospital.
Junior Health and Wellness Minister Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn yesterday commended the team for staging the event, noting that it underscores how vital proper nutrition is to the health and well-being of the community and the nation at large.
“This is a step that more organisations can take as we take collective action to ensure the optimal health outcome of all Jamaicans. Jamaica shares this burden as the public health system continues to be plagued with health and associated concerns directly linked to poor nutritional habits [and] non-communicable [diseases] overwhelming our public health facilities,” she said in her keynote address.
Pointing out that the cost of treating lifestyle diseases had become a national burden that should be tackled now, Cuthbert-Flynn said that nutrition-related health problems are among those that account for more than 70 per cent of deaths in the island.
She urged the audience to take personal responsibility “bite by bite” in making wise dietary choices to help Jamaica tackle non-communicable diseases, improving the health and well-being of the population.
Dr Andre McKenzie, senior medical officer at Lionel Town Hospital, and paediatrician Dr Tamar McKenzie, who spearheaded the symposium, shared with The Gleaner that the idea was conceptualised following the spike in the number of cases that were directly related to poor eating habits.
“What we actually realise is that the community itself, both for the babies and also for the adults, is suffering because of poor nutritional choices. Because of that now, we actually decided that this is something we wanted to focus on, and we wanted to do it in such a way that we are using food – everyday food that the community use and can afford,” the senior medical officer shared.
Paediatrician McKenzie also noted that she had seen a spike in such cases among babies, with a number of the admitted children having faltering growth, experiencing failure to thrive, and showing signs of malnutrition.