Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness (FILE)
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KINGSTON –The Jamaica government says it will pilot legislation aimed at regulating the sugar content in food products.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the legislation will be the next step in the “Jamaica Moves” campaign and that the population will have to be educated about the ill effects of some of the foods they consume daily.
Speaking at a function organised by the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) and the Ministry of Health, Holness encouraged the citizens to take better care of themselves by exercising daily and eating healthy, and also cautioned them against smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
“Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, hypertension and stroke, are linked to our lifestyle and how we choose to live. We eat rice, yam, dumpling and banana on one plate and all of that is starch, which converts to sugar. When you have too much of that and you are not exercising, you start to put on weight.
“We want all Jamaicans to be healthy. We recommend 30 minutes a day of relatively easy exercise, such as walking in the morning; or 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily (which) is good for all of us,” he added.
Holness said that he, too, had recently embarked on a healthier lifestyle by eliminating sugar and artificial sweeteners from his diet, and is encouraging all Jamaicans to either cut down or cut out sugar. He said he had also reduced his fat intake.
“I am also encouraging you to eat more fruits and vegetables, like callaloo and cabbage. We, as a Government, are not just looking at the economy, roads and crime, but we take your health very seriously and are taking the message to you,” he said, commending Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, on doing an excellent job with the Jamaica Moves campaign.
“We are trying to get every Jamaican to understand the relationship between physical activity and healthy lifestyle,” Tufton said, adding “we have too many Jamaicans dying of heart failure, diabetes and arthritis because they sit too much, eat badly, and before they reach 70 they have to take five to six tablets and live at the hospital and doctor. We don’t want that.
The Health Minister noted that “public health is not just about hospitals but encouraging Jamaicans to live healthy lives.” (CMC)