New Guidelines To Aid Nutritional Habits

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A young boy admires the cover of the new booklet on dietary??guidelines.????

The newly-released booklet, Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for Barbados, will ensure relevant nutritional information and advice are provided to citizens to allow them to make healthier choices.

This statement was made by Minister of Health, Donville Inniss as he addressed the launching ceremony of the booklet, by the National Nutrition Centre.?? It was held at Divi Southwinds Hotel, on St. Lawrence Main Road in Christ Church, yesterday.????

Minister Inniss said: "These guidelines are relevant to current public health concerns, culturally appropriate and based on food availability patterns. They can be used as tools to promote nutritional well-being and to promote desirable food consumption patterns as well as to prevent and control diet-related diseases.

"They can also be used as a guide for educators to give instructions on desirable eating patterns and to guide food and agricultural policies."

While adding that achieving good nutrition was one of the primary objectives of a country’s development, the Health Minister noted that emphasis was placed on the prevention and control of nutrition-related diseases because of the high costs they could impose on a country’s health system and economy.

He also referred to the Behavior Risk Factor Survey, conducted in September 2007, where it was indicated that Barbadians consumed on average only one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables per day. Mr. Inniss stressed this was much less than the recommended five servings, and urged families to incorporate more locally grown fruit and vegetables in their diets.

Acknowledging that there was an extremely worrisome trend in the level of overweight and obese persons in the CARICOM region, the Health Minister added: "Barbados is in the unenviable position, with an estimated 65 per cent and 56 per cent of women and men respectively, being overweight or obese."?? And, he urged the private sector, particularly supermarkets and shops, to work collaboratively with Government to make prices more attractive.??

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John explained that the guidelines were timely, as they sought to sensitise citizens about the dangers associated with poor eating habits and inactivity.?? She asserted that the booklet would also help to achieve a paradigm shift resulting in a [healthier population.??

Commending the staff at the Centre, she affirmed, "Nutrition intervention is a low cost and effective way to promote good health. With guidance and attention to what we eat, the status of the health of all Barbadians can be improved. These guidelines, therefore, represent a tremendous example of how policymakers can help create a culture of wellness in Barbados that focuses on prevention first."

The Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Barbados recognises that developing an informed consumer is an essential first step towards changing lifestyles. The booklet has been developed to impart nutritional knowledge and promote an understanding of what constitutes a balanced diet.?? It also gives information about the richest food sources of nutrients and provides realistic assessments of the quantities of foods needed to achieve healthy living.

Additionally, it is anticipated that while the guidelines will help Barbadians adopt changes to maintain healthy lifestyles, they should further aid in preventing chronic nutrition-related diseases and the associated costs of managing such illnesses.????

jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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