In recognition of World Obesity Day, commemorated on March 4, the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (BCOP) shared a letter of commendation to the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training for the February 15 launch of the National School Nutrition Policy. On hand to receive the letter from Dr Kia Lewis, Chairperson of the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition, was Deputy Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson.
The BCOP Chair outlined that the new policy was a brave one to protect children in Barbados. The new policy removes sugar-sweetened beverages from schools and forges a healthier school food environment from April 2023.
The school nutrition policy has been part of the ardent fight by the Coalition since 2019 and the group stands ready to support the Ministry through vendor training, building awareness about childhood obesity with all stakeholders including teachers, students and parents, and monitoring and evaluation of the platform to ensure the policy has the power to change the health of students across Barbados.
The theme for World Obesity Day 2023 is Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity. When we talk, debate and share, we can change minds, shift norms and transform health outcomes. In Barbados, the conversation has been about advocating for policies and this has brought a massive change among parents, students and government, who recognized that the trajectory of the alarming levels of childhood obesity in Barbados was putting the health of children in jeopardy.
A societal problem like childhood obesity will require a societal response. Research shows that in Barbados, one in three children between 13 to 15 years old are obese or overweight. This is alarming and puts the health of a generation under threat.
Adamson thanked the Coalition on behalf of the Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training the Hon. Kay McConney gave the assurance that the Ministry will work with the Coalition and the Ministry of Health to help reduce childhood obesity.