A Healthy Environment: Key to Our Children’s Health

A Healthy Environment: Key to Our Children’s Health

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, September 10, 2016: “About 1 in every 5 of our Caribbean children carries unhealthy weight and is at risk of developing costly non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and other problems later in life,” stated Dr. James Hospedales in observance of Caribbean Wellness Day 2016.  The Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) said the Region is in the midst of a rapidly growing childhood obesity epidemic and it is important to get and use solutions that might help with these challenges to secure future generations.   

This year Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) will focus on Children, under the theme, Healthy Children in Healthy Environments.

Reducing weight-related health issues is a priority for CARPHA as illustrated in the Plan for Action for Promoting Healthy Weights. The Plan supports measures to effect change at the individual, community, national and regional levels, as well as to provide medical, health and family support for the child, who is already affected by overweight/obesity.  The Agency has also produced a Parents’ Guide to a Healthier Child, which can be used to help reduce children’s risks associated with unhealthy weight such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

CARPHA aims to stop and reverse the rise in obesity in children and adolescents by 2025, working with its Member States and partners to support national implementation to achieve this. These actions will ensure that the environments in which our Caribbean children live, learn and play are more supportive of physical activity and healthy eating.

Dr. Hospedales said “these measures include establishing mandatory nutritional labelling of processed foods, encouraging households to use less salt and sugar, and banning the importation of products containing trans fats.” He stated that the consumption of local fruits and vegetables should be promoted and communities be empowered to embrace healthy living.

Caribbean Wellness Day will be observed across the Region on Saturday 10th September. This annual event launched in 2008, has raised the profile of NCDs, which continue to severely and adversely impact the health and economic development of the Caribbean. CARPHA will collaborate with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Pan American/World Health Organization, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, and other regional and international organisations, in helping to shape regional and country-level policy and programmes that address the epidemic of chronic diseases, the roots of which begin in early life.

On the heels of Caribbean Wellness Day, Wellness Week 2016 will be celebrated from September 10th to 18th in the Americas.  Under the slogan “All for health, step up” Wellness Week (WW) will highlight the connection between health promotion and this year’s tagline for the World Health Day, “Step Up, Beat Diabetes”.  Wellness Week brings individuals and organizations together to share current initiatives and best practices being conducted in the Americas to promote health and wellbeing, in places where people live, learn, work and enjoy their daily lives.

For more information about Caribbean Wellness Day please visit http://carpha.org/Media-Centre/Caribbean-Wellness-Day.

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