Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie has said that with the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica, people should continue eating healthy foods for sustainable health and well-being they affect almost every family.
She also encourages that Jamaicans pay careful attention to labels on food packages.
“What we eat is important in determining if we get these diseases. If we start paying attention to what we eat from we are young, it can lead to good health,” she said, adding that “we need to cut down on the sugary drinks and the salty foods.”
The CMO was speaking at an event in light of Caribbean Nutrition Day, held at the St. William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on Thursday (June 1).
The event was held under the theme ‘Healthy Eating Active Living: Read it Before You Eat It’. It exposed patrons to NCD screening, nutrition education, food demonstration and sampling, physical activity counselling and workout sessions, as well as entertainment.
Bisasor-McKenzie emphasised that children should be encouraged to eat healthy, and to avoid fried foods, arguing that adults should lead the way by consuming nutritious foods.
“That will help you to control sugar (diabetes) and blood pressure, if you have it, and to help you prevent it,” she added.
She pointed out that with more physical activity, together with healthier eating habits, there will be a reduction of NCDs, popularly called lifestyle diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes, noting that more than 70 per cent of deaths each year are due to NCDs.
In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) will be launching a campaign to pay attention to the contents of foods and assisting persons to read food labels, so that they know and understand exactly what is in the things that they eat and drink.
For her part, Dr. Simone Spence, director of Health Promotion and Protection in the MoHW, said that efforts are being made “to increase awareness and understanding among the population about what they are consuming, so that they can make healthier choices”.
Caribbean Nutrition Day is celebrated across the Caribbean region with the objective to promote increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and to encourage people to be more active, whether it is walking or some form of sporting activity.
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