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Healthy Caribbean Coalition

March 17th - March 25th 2019


HCC NCD Youth Advocates Represent the Caribbean at Global NCD Forum on Children and Youth in Sharjah

HCC Youth Advocates
HCC Youth Advocates Krystal Boyea and Pierre Cooke Jnr.
at Barbados Grantley Adams airport, on their way to Sharjah
HCC Youth Advocates Krystal Boyea and Pierre Cooke Jnr. are heading to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where they will join youth advocates from across the globe for an NCD Forum On Children And Youth, organised by NCD Child and hosted by Friends of Cancer Patients UAE.
The  NCD Forum on Children and Youth takes place 25-26 March 2019 and has the theme: Beyond SDG 3.4: Developing a Family-Centered, National Health Agenda.
HCC Youth Advocates Krystal Boyea and Pierre Cooke Jnr. 
HCC Youth Advocates Krystal Boyea and Pierre Cooke Jnr. 
on their way to day 1 of the Forum in Sharjah
Youth NCD advocates from across the globe will meet to develop skills to establish a family-centered, community-based approach to NCDs, affecting young people, participate in interactive sessions and aim to strengthen the impact of young leaders as NCDs advocates.

Big Win for Bermuda: Sugar Tax of 75% on Target for on April 1 and Chocolate Bars Added to the List

Big Win for Bermuda
Photo: The Royal Gazette
Speaking in Parliament on Friday March 22 , Minister of Health Kim Wilson said the Customs Tariff Amendment Act 2019 proposes to increase the duty rate to 75% for food and beverage items affected by the sugar tax on 1 April, and apply the above-mentioned duty rate to chocolate and cocoa preparations containing added sugar.

“On 1st October a 50% duty rate was implemented on the said items as part of a transitioning phase. In addition to the full 75% duty rate implementation, chocolate is proposed to be included in the tariff as of 1st April 2019, also at the 75% sugar tax rate.”

The Health Minister added, “It is estimated that currently diabetes and kidney disease account for 10% of the country’s total health spending. This means just 2 lifestyle-induced, preventable conditions are costing us $78 million dollars. This has to stop. The sugar tax is an important part of the measures needed to change choices and behaviour.”
The Hon. Kim Wilson, JP, MP
The Hon. Zane De Silva, JP, MP
Original Articles:

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados Op Ed on Childhood Obesity and NCDs

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados
Subsequent to the significant expression of concern about Childhood Obesity recently signaled in the recently launched CADRES public opinion poll, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB) highly commend the Government of Barbados for its announcement to implement relevant policies, strong measures and incentives to address Childhood Obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Barbados during the Budget Speech on Wednesday March 20, 2019.
As the Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Mottley, indicated, the incidence of NCDs in Barbados "'is at crisis level". As a result, we welcome the thoughtfulness and emphasis on this growing challenge expressed by the Government of Barbados last Wednesday. 
The evidence is clear that Childhood Obesity is directly linked to the onslaught of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and hypertension as children grow older. The current rate of obesity and overweight in Barbados is 31% and research shows that this epidemic is significantly linked to unhealthy lifestyle approaches including an excess intake of added sugars in sugar sweetened beverages; foods high in sodium and sugar and a lack of regular exercise.
There is an immediate need to address the issues of Obesity and Childhood Obesity through strong government policies and educational programmes. 
The Heart and Stroke Foundation was heartened by the response of over 800 Barbadians interviewed during a CADRES poll at the end of 2018, where 92% of Barbadians stated that they would support a National Policy aimed at creating healthier school environments across Barbados. Ninety percent (90%) of the public polled also felt it was important for government to play a role in reducing Obesity in Barbados.
As Civil Society, we stand committed to support the government in the required public education and in the development of the relevant policies.
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados.

The Op Ed appeared in the Sunday Sun March 24, 2019.

New Study Links Higher Sugary Drink Consumption With Increased Risk of Death

New Study Links Higher Sugary Drink Consumption With Increased Risk of Death
Deborah Chen, Statement by Deborah Chan, President, Heart Foundation of Jamaica: KINGSTON, Jamaica – Results of a new Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study provides new evidence about dangerous health effects of consuming sugary drinks. The large long-term study of U.S. men and women found that the more sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) consumed, the higher the risk of early death. In addition, the study found an increased risk of early death from cardiovascular disease to people who consumed SSBs frequently.
The study examined lifestyle factors and health status of men and women over a 34-year period. It found that drinking two to six sugary drinks per week was linked with a 6% increase in mortality; one to two per day with a 14% increase; and two or more with a 21% increase. In addition, the increased early death risk linked with SSB consumption was more pronounced among women who consumed two or more sugary drinks per day than among men who consumed similar amounts of sugary drinks. Women had a 63% higher risk of death and men 29%.  
In addition, it found a strong link between drinking sugary drinks and an increased risk of early death from cardiovascular disease. Individuals who drank two or more servings per day of SSBs had a 31% higher risk of early death from cardiovascular disease compared with infrequent SSB consumers. Each additional serving of a sugary drink per day was associated with a 10% higher risk of cardiovascular disease related death.
The results related to artificially sweetened beverages are potentially important findings for policymakers who are looking at sugar substitutions. The  study cautions against excessive consumption of artificially sweetened beverages. While there was moderately lower risk of early death linked with replacing SSBs with artificially sweetened beverages, high consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (at least four servings/per day) was linked with a slightly increased risk of both overall and cardiovascular-related mortality among women.
The need for the government of Jamaica to take action has never been clearer. After all, Jamaicans – especially young people – are high consumers of SSBs. The 2010 Global School Health Survey found that 73% of Jamaican adolescents drink carbonated soft drinks at least once a day. This study provides further proof of the harmful health effects of sugary drinks and why population-based policies that are effective in reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, like sugary drink taxes, are needed to help improve the health of all Jamaicans.
The Long-Term Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Mortality in US Adults study was published in the journal Circulation. It analyzed data from 80,647 women participating in the Nurses’s Health Study (1980-2014) and 37,716 men participating in the Health Professional Follow-Up Study (1986-2014). In both studies, participants answered questionnaires about lifestyle factors and health status every two years.
Read more
Circulation Journal: Original Publication - Long-Term Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Mortality in US Adults

Related Media:

Join the New HCC Facebook Group

HCC Facebook Group
We have now created a Healthy Caribbean Coalition Facebook group in order to make sure you are seeing more of our content, especially the content shared by other CSOs in the region. The group, which you can join here will allow you to control when you see our content, rather than relying on the Facebook feed which has become less reliable in terms of alerting people to new content.

The Group will help ensure you are seeing more HCC content and will give you the opportunity to share content directly with others who are interested in a heathy Caribbean. You will still be able to share content from the page and you can still go to our Facebook page, where we will still share more curated content.
To make it easier to be notified about our group content, you can set notifications on Facebook to see the page’s content via your Facebook notifications. To do this, join the page and be sure to highlight the notifications option just below the cover picture of the group. Be sure to set it to all posts so you will see everything. If that becomes too much, you can change to highlights.

For additional instructions click here.
Join the Group

Noncommunicable Diseases Among Women: A ‘Slow Motion Disaster’

Noncommunicable Diseases Among Women: A ‘Slow Motion Disaster’
A Nepali health worker checks the blood pressure of a pregnant woman at a health center in the Ramechhap district.  Photo Credit: Bikram Rai/AFP/Getty Images
STAT - Robyn Norton and Katie Dain: Childbirth and infectious diseases were once the leading causes of death among women around the globe. That’s changed over the last three decades. Today, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), once considered diseases of affluence, are, along with injuries, the leading causes of death and disability among women in developing and developed countries alike. Noncommunicable diseases affect women and children across the life-course: They are a critical issue for child and adolescent health, a threat to maternal and reproductive health, and a major driver of ill health for older women.

Described as a “slow motion disaster” by former World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, noncommunicable diseases include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and mental and neurological conditions, among others.
Read more

High-Risk HPV Testing Coming to Public Health Facilities in Trinidad and Tobago

The training facilitators from Capris Medica
The training facilitators from Capris Medica take a group photo with the laboratory staff that completed the training.  Photo courtesy: The Ministry of Health.
Loop News: Women over 30 years of age will benefit from testing for high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HPV), as part of cervical cancer screening which will be offered for the first time at public health facilities across Trinidad and Tobago. 

The Health Ministry, in collaboration with the North West Regional Health Authority and the Population Services International-Caribbean (PSI-Caribbean), recently concluded training on the use of the careHPV testing machine with the healthcare personnel at the Port of Spain General Hospital.
Read more

Barbados PM Push for Healthier Options on Menus

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley  Photo: GIS/FP 
Nation News: During here Budget Address Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said her government plans to work with the Ministry of Agriculture to have more local fruits on Bajan tables. “We want to start a conversation with the fast food establishment…these will be told let us work together”, she said.

She said it was time to start having healthier options on menus.

“Let us have some stuff grown, let us have ground provisions. We need to serve more sweet potato, yam, and green bananas. We need to reduce to content of sugar in the juices. It is the only way to fight childhood obesity,” she noted..
Read more

The Caribbean - Change of Diet

The Caribbean Change of Diet
 Photo: klimkin from Pixabay
A new agricultural initiative in the Caribbean aspires to reduce both obesity and dependence on cheap food imports. Can it spur eco-nomic growth too?

After decades anchored to tourism and commodity exports, the Caribbean region is shifting to development through agriculture. Behind the change of economic diet is the need to both reduce a $4 billion annual food-imports bill in a smart way and promote a healthier diet for the islands’ population. Regional governments last fall announced their intention to pursue these twin goals with the launch of a Global Center for Resilient Agriculture in Dominica, backed by aid from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). 

The headline issue behind the initiative is the rise of obesity in the region, which is rapidly adding to public health costs and expanding the inactive population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly one in four Caribbean adults is obese due to a diet rich in sugar, fat and salt. The WHO estimates that 7% of Caribbean children below age 5 are overweight compared to a global average of 5.6%.
Read more
Related Media:

Heart Disease and Depression: Scientists Find Missing Link

Heart Disease and Depression: Scientists Find Missing Link
 Photo: 1388843 from Pixabay
Researchers already recognized the link between depression and heart disease. However, until recently, the mechanisms explaining it remained a mystery. A new study reveals that stress-induced inflammation may explain why mental and cardiovascular health are so intimately related.

Heart disease is now the leading cause of death both in the United States and worldwide.
Read more
Nature International Journal of Science: Original Publication - Shared mechanisms between coronary heart disease and depression: findings from a large UK general population-based cohort

Obesity News from Across the Globe

Obesity Is Now Africa’s Health Care Crisis, Too
Photo: © Waldo Swiegers

Obesity Is Now Africa’s Health Care Crisis, Too

Bloomberg: When it comes to health issues in Africa, people think of chronic hunger, or infectious diseases such as malaria or HIV/AIDS. But Africa is simultaneously struggling with an increase in noncommunicable diseases, most of them related to obesity. Read more
Addressing the Childhood Obesity Crisis
Photo: © Adrian825

Addressing the Childhood Obesity Crisis

OAG: Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health challenges of our generation but it is not on everyone’s agenda despite the staggering statistics which continue to get worse, in the UK, almost a quarter of British children are overweight by the time they start Primary School. Read more
More Than One in Four Aussie Kids Are Overweight
Photo: © Shutterstock

More Than One in Four Aussie Kids Are Overweight or Obese

The Conversation: The year is 1980, and a small number of vulnerable Australian children begin to show early signs of a quiet but dangerous disease. Affecting their kidneys, their hearts and even their brains, this disease has known causes – and solutions.  Read more
One in five Chinese children is overweight or obese
Photo: © Shutterstock

One in five Chinese children is overweight or obese

CNN: The research, found that while China's rapid economic growth over the past two decades had been accompanied by a reduction in childhood growth stunting and thinness, the country has also seen a four-fold rise in the number of overweight and obese children Read more

How Flavoured Water Got Britain’s Juices Flowing as a Healthy Alternative to Sugary Fizzy Drinks

Flavoured Water
 Photo: Ugly Drinks
iNews: Water is the cool kid on the block these days. As well as the straight-up version from our own taps, we can now buy it carbonated in cans, flavoured with fruit or pimped up with protein.

There’s clearly quite a market for it. Figures from the consumer insights company Kantar Worldpanel showed that last year, British supermarket shoppers bought 33.5 million more litres of flavoured water than the previous year, a rate of growth that outpaces that of plain water.
Read more

Sitting Disease: Too Much Sitting at Your Office Desk is The New Smoking

Sitting Disease: Too Much Sitting at Your Office Desk is The New Smoking
Corporate Wellness Magazine: Sitting at your office desk working all week long may help you achieve your self-actualization goals, or pay your bills and keep you out of debt, but may also be setting you up for some trouble in the future - Health problems. Sitting disease is the new smoking in the workplace, and it may be slowly draining your health while you make ends meet.

One in four American adults sits for longer than eight hours every day, reports the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On average, Americans sit for about 11 hours each day, with much of this time spent at the office desk.
Read more

PAHO Alcohol and Health Webinar Series 2019

PAHO Alcohol and Health Webinar Series 2019
Credit: PAHO
PAHO: The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Unit is coordinating a series of monthly webinars on Alcohol and Health throughout 2019. The webinar series is aimed at disseminating up-to-date and accurate information about alcohol epidemiology, harms, policies and research in the Region of the Americas and globally, which in turn can be used for advocacy, policy development and implementation. 

Register to the series to receive the invitations and the recordings and presentations of the webinars. Register at: 
Read more

ECHORN/Yale TCC Webinar: Developmental Origins of Non-Communicable Diseases: Can Early Life Interventions Change the Story?

Wednesday, March 27 @ 2:00pm AST/EST.
Part of a free webinar series on nutrition and non-communicable diseases in the Caribbean, brought to you by the ECHORN/Yale TCC Collaborative Learning Work Group.

Dr. Campos Rivera is a double-board certified pediatrician with sub-specialties in neonatal and perinatal medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Interdisciplinary Research Leader. She will talk about her most recent work, a clinical trial targeting obesity prevention in infants and their mothers, and the paradigm of the effects of fetal programming on adipose-tissue related illnesses. 
Please share with your network and interested individuals. Certificates of attendance available upon request.
Any questions please email:

The American Heart Association Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine Data Grant Portfolio

Closing Date for Applications 30th July 2019
AHA Grants
Grants are open to applicants outside the U.S., Training Grant applicants must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, Clinical Training Grants are for recent medical school graduates. Fields of study using bioinformatics, code development, and scientific community development are welcome.
Read more

Please Help to Monitor the Health of Caribbean Schools

My Healthy Caribbean School (MHCS) is an initiative of the HCC which provides students, teachers and parents with the opportunity to monitor the school environment with a focus on nutrition and physical activity.
Find out more
Key Messages From Our Publications
Key Messages from the Third Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day
Sobering Myths & Misconceptions
Youth and Alcohol Don't Mix
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The NCD Alliance


In this edition:
  • Mexico launches its national advocacy agenda for people living with NCDs 
  • Online consultation on UHC for people living with NCDs
  • Help inform NCDA priorities for the UN HLM on UHC
  • Stakeholder consultation on childhood obesity now open
  • Alcohol control and global governance in spotlight
  • Arab Conference on Public Health
  • PMNCH: Call for expression of interest to renew board
  • Scientifics wanted to update WHO recommendations 
  • Affordable healthy living Business Model Designer
Read more
Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard
Forthcoming Events


Cancer Support Services Fundraising Breakfast

CSS Fundraising Worship Breakfast
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Barbados National Registry Celebrates 10th Anniversary

April 5th, 2019, the BNR, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness will be hosting a 10th Anniversary CME Seminar and Public Lecture at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre. Read more

Cancer Support Services 23rd Anniversary Concert

23rd Anniversary Concert
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CARPHA Health Research Conference - Primary Health Care : Current and Future Models for the Caribbean

CARPHA Conference
Read more
Our Publications
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable  Infographics
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable

Read more
An Insight into Depression in the Caribbean
An Insight into Depression in the Caribbean Infographic 

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The HCC is a regional network of Caribbean health NGOs and civil society organizations with the remit to combat chronic diseases (NCDs) and their associated risk factors and conditions. Our membership presently consists of more than 65 Caribbean-based health NGOs and over 55 not-for-profit organisations and, in excess of 200 individual members based in the Caribbean and across the globe.

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