******Source- Caribbean News Now, News Desk, First Published Feb 10, 2023
The Barbados School Nutrition Policy, which was developed and approved by Cabinet in May 2022, will be implemented on February 15th.
The launch and press conference will be held at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology, The Pine, St. Michael, at 10 a.m., in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training and other stakeholders.
With widespread concern about the epidemic of childhood obesity, the policy was created as a guide for school administrators, teachers, canteen concessionaires, and vendors to plan healthy meals and snacks for students.
Through a multi-sectoral and integrated approach, its overall goal is to create healthy school environments that enhance student learning and are conducive to the development of healthy lifelong eating and activity behaviors.
According to local research, 32% of adolescents are overweight, while 14% are obese. This study also confirms that the situation in Barbados is due to changing dietary habits and sedentary behaviors. It is noted that once adopted in adolescence, these practices will continue into adulthood, predisposing people to non-communicable diseases.
It should also be noted that, according to the 2020 Global Nutrition Report, Barbados experienced undernutrition among its under-five population. As a result, encouraging positive lifestyle behaviors is a top priority for the government.
The Barbados School Nutrition Policy is expected to be implemented in phases throughout the academic year 2022-2023.
Kay McConney, Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, and Dr Sonia Browne, Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, are expected to speak at the launch ceremony. Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, Chief Education Officer, and The Most Honourable Dr Kenneth George, Chief Medical Officer, will be in attendance.
The Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Community Empowerment, the Pan American Health Organization, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, the Barbados Olympic Association, the National Sports Council, the Physical Education Teachers’ Association of Barbados will also be represented at the launch. Representatives from parents and students are also expected to attend.