As Policy Kicks In To Reduce Sugary Drinks In Schools Push To Establish Link With Obesity, Non- Communicable Diseases

Minister of Health Dr. Christopher Tufton, is restating the strong link between
excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and childhood obesity. The development of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) later in life is also linked to high sugar intake and obesity.

A new policy to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks consumed by school children is now in effect, with schools starting implementation at the commencement of the Easter term January 7.

The Minister again mentioned the link last week as he spoke at the launch of Cold Field Manufacturing Limited’s (Big Jo) zero-sugar drinks, at the Clan Carthy Primary School in St. Andrew on Thursday, January 3.

He commended the company for the move, which he said, is in the interest of public health. Dr. Tufton used the occasion to remind the public that the guidelines regarding the restriction of sugary drinks in public schools and health facilities are now in effect.

He urged vendors who sell on the compounds of public educational institutions to buy into the campaign, and implored parents, teachers and administrators to ensure that children do not take sugary drinks to school.

The Ministry of Education has approved the Interim Guidelines for Beverages in Schools. As of January 1, the drinks served or sold in schools should have a maximum of six grams (6grams) per 100 ml.

In its policy document circulated to most schools the Ministry says: “There is currently a strong body of research linking overweight and obesity to the development of NCDs such as Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.”

It said further that a study conducted in 2010 and 2017 “shows that the rates of both overweight and obesity in the school aged population are trending upwards.”

By: Franklin McKnight

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