Jamaica to cut down sugar in schools as a response to growing obesity crisis

Jamaican schoolgirls eating lunch

Schools in Jamaica will soon cease to serve and sell sugary drinks to pupils as part of Ministry of Health’s new protocol to control the rising obesity crisis in the country.

The new law is part of the Jamaica Moves campaign launched by the government to promote regular physical activity and healthy eating in order to reduce Obesity-related non-communicable diseases.

“One of our problems is our excessive consumption of sugar. We have tended to promote that culture and predisposition in our schools (with the high consumption of) bag juice,” said the Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw at a seminar on Monday.

“The truth is, the bag juice is basically sugar and water, and the Minister (of Health) has announced a plan… a new protocol that is going to be applied to what is allowed to be sold and consumed in our schools,” Shaw was quoted by Jamaica Gleaner.

The restriction applies to beverages that contain sugar or syrup and does not include 100 percent juice or unsweetened milk, the report added.

The minister further revealed that the government is taking legislation to parliament to regulate the sugar content in food products nationally.

Jamaica is reported to have a high obesity rate as studies show that obesity in adolescents from 13 to 15 years old has increased by 68 percent and doubled in boys over the past seven years.

This article written by Ismail Akwei was first published on face2faceafrica.com

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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