Healthy Children in Healthy Environments is the theme of this year’s Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD). Since 2008, on every second Saturday in September people, organisations and communities from all over the region have come together for CWD to strengthen the all-of-society response to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), promoting healthy living, activities and programmes that support wellness. This special day for health was mandated by the 2007 CARICOM Heads of Government Port of Spain Declaration on NCDs.
It is important to focus on children for Caribbean Wellness Day as young people have the right to grow up in an environment that promotes their wellbeing, fostering good diet and exercise habits that start them on the road to a long and healthy life.
However, the situation is not looking bright for many of our children. In every Caribbean Community (CARICOM) state more than one in ten children is obese, with less than a third of school pupils achieving the recommended levels of physical activity.
CARICOM Heads of Government have recognised the urgency of the situation and in their July 2016 meeting pledged to address, among other issues, “…banning advertisement of potentially harmful foods which specifically target children; and elevating taxes on foods high in sugar, salt and trans-fats.”
This emphasis on children’s health fits well within the overarching theme of Caribbean Wellness Day for the next three years proposed by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). From 2016-2019 CARPHA recommends that CWD be aligned with the Port of Spain Declaration NCD Agenda.
Please find below links to a variety of action guides that look at what a number of sectors can do in the multisectoral response to NCDs: from schools to civil society and from faith-based organisations to the private sector. There is also an up-to-the-minute fact sheet on the extent of the NCD epidemic in the Caribbean.
To find out what we can do to get our children eating better, moving more and getting healthier click here.
If you want to know more about childhood obesity, especially in Barbados, click here.
For more information on Caribbean Wellness Day click here.