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Healthy Caribbean Coalition

November 29th, 2019


Grenada to Ban Sodas and Sweet Snacks at Schools

Grenada to Ban Sodas and Sweet Snacks at Schools
Image:  Linda Straker
The Education Minister of Grenada, Emmalin Pierre has announced that as of 1 January 2020, government will be banning the sale of carbonated beverages and sweet snacks on the compounds of all public and private schools in Grenada.

Sharing details of health assessments among students which were conducted between 2010 and 2016, Pierre who was the time contributing to the 2020 budget debate said that almost 20% of the students surveyed were obese or overweight.

“Between 2010 and 2016 study shows 17% of the secondary school population between 12 to 16 years are overweight and obese while 2% to 6% of children 0 months to 5 years are overweight and obese,” she told the House.
Read more
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The Honourable Emmalin Pierre  Minister Of Education Of Grenada
The Honourable Emmalin Pierre
Minister Of Education Of Grenada
The Honourable Nikolas Steele, Minister Of Health, Social Security And International Business Of Grenada
The Honourable Nikolas Steele
Minister Of Health, Social Security And International Business Of Grenada

November 29, 2019

Dear The Honourable Emmalin Pierre and The Honourable Nikolas Steele,

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) wishes to congratulate the Grenada Ministries of education and Health, Social Security and International Business and the Government of Grenada on your recent announcement that carbonated beverages and sweet snacks will be banned from all public and private schools effective January 1, 2020.  This action taken by the Government of Grenada supports the HCC Civil Society Action Plan 2017-2021: Preventing Childhood Obesity in the Caribbean and the recent HCC Civil Society Call to Urgent Action for the Caribbean region to Accelerate Nutrition Policies for the Creation of Healthy Environments for Caribbean Children, both of which call on the Governments of CARICOM countries to implement a package of evidence based policy actions aimed at tackling childhood obesity – including a ban on the sale and marketing of sweet beverages in and around schools. The Grenada ban in schools also realises a commitment made by your Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, at the 39th Summit of CARICOM Heads of Government and State in 2018 when Heads endorsed a number of priorities for the 3rd UN High Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) including: “implementing policies geared to preventing childhood obesity, including health-promoting school environments and Front of Package (FOP) labelling”.

The HCC would also like to recognise the tremendous contributions made by the Grenada National Chronic NCD Commission. The HCC is committed to strengthening and partnering with National NCD Commissions across the region and we have worked closely with the Commission in Grenada.  Led by the Chairman, Dr. Damian Greaves, the Commission identified childhood obesity as a priority and has been focused on advocating and supporting the Government of Grenada in prioritizing and fast tracking the implementation of nutrition policies which will tackle obesity among children and adults.
Read the Full Letter

The National Consumers League of Jamaica Joins Forces With the HCC to Call for Mandatory Front of Package Nutrition Warning Labels in the Caribbean

Consumers Right to Know: Joint Statement from the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the National Consumers League of Jamaica

November 29, 2019

RIGHT NOW Caribbean countries are deciding whether or not Caribbean Consumers will benefit from access to important health information needed to make healthy food choices through the adoption of ‘high in’ front of package nutrition warning labels as a key evidence-based, effective public health policy measure. This process is being led by CROSQ (CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality). The intended outcome is to approve a revised CARICOM REGIONAL STANDARD: Labelling of Foods – Pre-Packaged Foods – Specification CRS 5: 201X which recommends ‘high in’ front of package nutrition warning labels.

Jointly, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the National Consumers League of Jamaica (NCLJ) are calling on Caribbean governments, CROSQ, National Bureaus of Standards of the Caribbean and Caribbean citizens to support the adoption of the revised regional standards with mandatory front of package nutrition warning labels as committed to by Heads of CARICOM in 2018 at the 39th CARICOM Heads of State and Government Summit and called for by the Director of PAHO, Dr. Carissa Etienne and called for by the HCC and stakeholders in our September 2019 Call to Urgent Action.

The HCC and the NCL of Jamaica are very concerned about the increasing deaths and morbidity caused by the continued rise in NCDs. While governments and manufacturers search for a middle ground, our consumers are facing severe health risks due to limited choices for healthier food and lack of adequate information on products which allow them to quickly and correctly identify products which have excess fats, salts and sugars.

Unhealthy diets pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality than tobacco use, alcohol use and unsafe sex combined. The Caribbean has some of the highest levels of obesity and obesity related non communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes in the world. The empirical evidence supports that ‘high in’ or ‘excess' front of package nutrition warning labels, are the most effective labelling scheme in terms of helping consumers make informed choices about foods high in fats, salts and sugars. The warning labels raise consumer awareness about processed and ultra processed foods which are high in fats, salt and sugars. These products are linked to noncommunicable diseases NCDs – the category of diseases responsible for the greatest death and disability in the region. Evidence has shown that ‘high in’ or ‘excess’ nutrition warning labels modify consumer behavior by shifting their purchases from unhealthy foods to healthier options. Moreover, “high in” systems have proven to influence the purchase decision of consumers towards a more critical and healthier decision and to decrease the intent to purchase products high in nutrients of public health concern (fats, salts and sugars) across different populations.

Fundamentally, this is about the right of consumers to access accurate information about the products they consume. Current labelling schemes do not effectively inform consumers about the nutritional content of the products they consume and are difficult to interpret. This is also an issue of equity. Wealthier, more educated members of society have the greater capacity to decode the universally recognized, difficult to interpret, labelling schemes - whereas the poorest and least educated are most affected due to literacy and economic limitations. Improved labelling of food products by ‘high in’ front of package nutrition warning labels makes it easy for the most vulnerable populations to make healthier food selections.

Many countries across the world have implemented ‘high in’ or ‘excess’ front of package nutrition warning labels in recognition of the epidemic of NCDs which is taking lives and undermining economies. We are lagging behind. The Caribbean was among the first to tax sugary beverages. Given our high burden of NCDs and limited economic resources, policies such as this should be an urgent public health priority.

Caribbean citizens have the RIGHT TO KNOW what is in their food and moreover, when the levels of nutrients associated with NCDs, exceed WHO-recommended intake goals. This information is essential in order to shift consumption away from foods high in fats, salts and sugars to healthier options. Governments are the main duty bearers in the rights-based approach and must transparently protect and promote this right to access information and right to health, through the implementation of public health policies.

‘High in’ Front of Package Nutrition Warning Labels will help Caribbean citizens make healthier food choices. This is about access to information. Caribbean consumers have a Right to Know.

Make your voice heard. Reach out to your local Bureau of National Standards and let them know you support 'high in' mandatory front of package nutrition warning labels.
Download the Statement
Front of package nutrition warning labels
You have the right to know
See more of our 'High-In' Front of Package Nutrition Warning Labels by clicking the link below.


HCC Fourth Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day Friday December 6, 2019

HCC Fourth Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day Friday December 6, 2019
On Friday December 6th the HCC with the support of partners PAHO, CARPHA, and the CARICOM Secretariat, will host the 4th Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day, this years theme is Women and Alcohol.

CARD 2019 focuses on women and alcohol and the unique public health and NCD-related concerns linked to alcohol consumption among women. Alcohol use not only increases a woman’s risk of liver and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and assault, but consumption of alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature deliveries, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use is also linked to breast cancer among women. Historically, alcohol use and its consequential health issues are more prevalent in men than in women. However, emerging evidence reveals an epidemiological change in alcohol use in younger cohorts, and further demonstrates that women suffer with more severe health and social problems at the hands of alcohol.  Further, alcohol metabolism occurs differently in women due to differences in body structure and chemistry, leading to greater absorption of alcohol and delayed excretion. The risk of an alcohol injury is higher for women than men after about 3 drinks, with an exponential increase in risk in any injury, including road injuries.

One of the key events in support of CARD 2019 is the hosting of a webinar. This webinar will feature global and regional experts who will discuss patterns and drivers of alcohol consumption among women and explore policy options to reduce the harmful use of alcohol within this group.

  • The Regional Burden, Drivers and Consequences of Alcohol Use Among Women - Professor T. Alafia Samuels - Honorary Professor. Epidemiology Research Unit, Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR) UWI, Jamaica
  • The Clinical Consequences of Alcohol Use and Abuse - Professor Simon Anderson- Director, Chronic Disease Research Centre of CAIHR, Professor of Population Health Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Barbados.
  • Pregnant Women Never Drink Alone: Pregnant Women and Alcohol - Dr.Stephanie Date - Consultant, HCC CARD 2019 
Register for the Webinar

Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report

Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report
Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change Report 2019 is now available.

To access everything, there are three links you need:
  • The full report is available here, free of charge, although you will have to sign up with The Lancet to access it (which is also free)
  • - all of the communications materials are available here, including videos; infographics; translations of the Executive Summary in to French, Mandarin, German, and Spanish; and policy briefs for the UK, EU, US, China, India, Australia, Canada, Chile, Brazil, Germany, and a global brief.
  • - for the first time ever, the data from each of the indicators will be available on the  new visualisation platform, allowing you to explore the information behind the report.
These materials and the 41 indicators of the Lancet Countdown represent the last 12 months of work from over 120 experts, representing 35 institutions across every continent.
Read more

Lancet Countdown 2019 Caribbean Launch Event

Lancet Countdown 2019 Caribbean Launch Event
09:00-12:00, December 19th 2019, Radisson Aquatica Hotel , Barbados

Climate change and NCDs are two defining challenges of the 21st century. Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as those found in the Caribbean, are on the frontlines of climate chnage suffering disproportionately major impacts. Climate change is undermining the foundations of good health; threatening the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the hospitals and clinics we depend on. However, the response to climate change could offer the greatest global health opportunity. Co-organised by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) and the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Caribbean  Community  Climate  Change Centre (CCCCC), this event will highlight key findings from the 2019 report of the Lancet Countdown, share HCC’s advocacy plans to build awareness, and catalyse discussion on how to build on the response to climate change, NCDs and other health priorities in the Caribbean. Due to limited space, this event is invitation only.

To request an invitation, please email or the deadline is December 6th.
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Heart Foundation of Jamaica Stakeholder Forums - Moving Towards Front of Package Nutrition Labelling in Jamaica

Heart Foundation of Jamaica
A full house at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica stakeholder forum at the Hilton Rose Hall, Montego Bay (Photo: HFJ Social Media)
In collaboration with the Ministry of Heath and Wellness, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), the Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR) and the National Consumers League of Jamaica (NCLJ), the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) held two stakeholder forums 'Moving Towards Front of Package Nutrition Labelling in Jamaica Empowering Consumers to make healthier choices' one on Tuesday November 19, 2019 at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston and a second on Thursday November 21, at the Hilton Rose Hall, Montego Bay.

Jamaica Government Moving to Make Front of Package Labelling Mandatory

Project Manager for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica
Senior Standards and Certification Officer at the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), Phillipa O’Connor (right), converses with Project Manager for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s (HFJ) Global Health Advocacy Project, Barbara McGaw (Photo: Nickieta Sterling/JIS)
Jamaica Information Service (JIS): The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) is carrying out assessments to determine the food labelling model that will work best for the country, as the Government moves closer to making front of package labelling mandatory in Jamaica.

Senior Standards and Certification Officer at the BSJ, Phillipa O’Connor, said that at least six models are being examined by the entity. 

She said that the committee established to review the standard governing food package labelling in Jamaica has generated a draft standard on front of package labelling, which is to be finalised, following the conclusion of stakeholder discussions now underway. 
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Heart Foundation of Jamaica Calls for Front-of-Package Labelling

Vonetta Nurse
Advocacy Officer for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica's (HFJ) Global Health Advocacy Project, Vonetta Nurse (Photo: Mark Bell/JIS)
JIS: The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ), through its Global Health Advocacy Project (GHAP), is calling for front-of-package labelling on food packages, which will provide consumers with information to make healthier food choices.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday, November 19, HFJ's GHAP Advocacy Officer, Vonetta Nurse, said the move is in keeping with the entity's continued efforts to fight obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“In Jamaica, the nutrition-facts panel on our products is not mandatory for all food items, so you'll find that some products don't have the label. There are also difficulties understanding the label in its current form, so what we are calling for is simple labelling on the front of food packages to allow consumers to know what is in the food,” she said. 
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Front-of-Package Labelling a Human Rights Issue – Healthy Caribbean Coalition

Nicole Foster
Attorney-at-Law and Policy Advisor for Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Nicole Foster
(Photo: Mark Bell/JIS)
JIS: Policy Advisor for the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), Nicole Foster, says that consumers must have easy access to information on the contents of packaged foods, noting that the matter is a human rights issue.

“This is a matter of our right to know, our children’s right to know as well as our right to the highest attainable standard of health and related rights, as guaranteed to us under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and, more broadly, under the International Covenant for Economic Social and Cultural Rights,” she said. Mrs. Foster noted that Jamaica has ratified both documents.

She was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank on Wednesday (November 20), against the background of a push by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) for easy-to-read front-of-package labelling.
Read more

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica 'What’s in Our Food' – Front of Package Nutrition Labelling Campaign

School children perform at the launch
School children perform at the launch
(Photo: HFJ)
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica launched their "What's In Our Food?" campaign on November 15, 2019. The Campaign aims to increase Jamaicans’ awareness about the importance of knowing the contents of their ultra-processed foods by carefully reading the labels, particularly those that are high in sugar and saturated fat or trans-fat. These types of food can lead to obesity, which can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

The campaign tagline is: "What's in Our Food? Give us the Facts." The campaign video tells the story of a Jamaican family (mom, dad, son, and daughter) eating an unhealthy breakfast consisting of high sugar and fat content. While the family is eating, a breaking news item on TV shows that obesity increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and 13 types of cancer. The parents are shocked to learn this new information and immediately clear the table, replacing their unhealthy breakfast with healthier options.
Whats Your Plate
Watch the PSA
The Heart Foundation of Jamaica What's on Your Plate Front of Package Nutrition Labelling Campaign

New WHO-Led Study Says Majority of Adolescents Worldwide Are Not Sufficiently Physically Active, Putting Their Current and Future Health at Risk

WHO-Led Study
Photo: WHO
WHO: The first ever global trends for adolescent insufficient physical activity show that urgent action is needed to increase physical activity levels in girls and boys aged 11 to 17 years. The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal and produced by researchers from the World Health Organization (WHO), finds that more than 80% of school-going adolescents globally did not meet current recommendations of at least one hour of physical activity per day – including 85% of girls and 78% of boys.

The study – which is based on data reported by 1.6 million 11 to 17-year-old students – finds that across all 146 countries studied between 2001-2016 girls were less active than boys in all but four (Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia).
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'Nothing About Us, Without Us’: Obesity and Young People in the Caribbean

Pierre Cooke Jnr.
Pierre Cooke Jnr. discussing NCDs and young people in the Caribbean at C3’s International Breakfast Seminar (Photo: C3 Health)
HCC Youth Voices Technical Advisor Pierre Cooke Jnr. was recently featured on the C3 Collaborating for Health website.

C3 Collaborating for Health: Youth involvement is harnessed by a few initiatives such as the EU-funded CO-CREATE initiative  (which is involving adolescents in understanding and developing obesity policies in Europe) and, most prominently, the school strikes precipitated by Greta Thunberg. And C3’s most recent international breakfast seminar, on 21 October, gave a platform to another extraordinary young person: 19-year-old Pierre K Cooke (Jnr), technical advisor to the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s Youth Voices initiative, who was in London for the One Young World summit  of youth leaders.
Read more

Free Diabetes Management Webinar Organised by Central Health - Grenada & St. David's Branch - GDA

Free Diabetes Management Webinar
Central Health - Grenada & St. David's Branch - GDA are holding a free Diabetes Management Webinar on Saturday November 30, 2019 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

You are invited to join a meeting, you must register, after registering, you will receive a confirmation email about joining the meeting.

NCD Alliance Webinar: Noncommunicable Diseases in Humanitarian Settings

NCD Alliance Webinar: Noncommunicable Diseases in Humanitarian Settings
NCD Alliance Webinar: Noncommunicable Diseases in Humanitarian Settings will be taking place on Tuesday 3 December from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm CET // 9.00 am - 10.30 am EDT
In large parts of each continent, the humanitarian crisis has reached a record high, leaving millions with limited access to food, shelter, clean water and essential health services.

In parallel, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and associated premature mortality continue to threaten economies, sustainable development and well-being of communities.

UNICEF Report: Protecting Children’s Right to a Healthy Food Environment

UNICEF Report: Protecting Children’s Right to a Healthy Food Environment
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), recognizes that all children up to 18 years of age are human beings in their own right, and are entitled to inalienable rights – inherent to human dignity – including the right to healthy food and adequate nutrition, the right to non-discrimination, and the right to consider their best interests in all matters that affect them.

As we celebrate progress made over the past 30 years in protecting, promoting and fulfilling children’s rights, it is clear more work remains to be done. Governments are the primary dutybearers in protecting the rights of all children.
Read the Report

WHO Launches Health Taxes Website

WHO Launches Health Taxes Website
Photo: WHO
The WHO has launched a new website that is dedicated  to health taxes.
  • Health taxes are imposed on products that have a negative public health impact (e.g. taxes on tobacco, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, fossil fuels). 
  • These taxes result in healthier populations and generate revenues for the budget even in the presence  of  illicit trade/evasion.
  • These are progressive measures which benefit low-income populations relatively more, once health care costs and health burden are taken into account. 
Reed more
Sweet Spot: Norwegians Cut Sugar Intake to Lowest Level in 44 Years

Sweet Spot: Norwegians Cut Sugar Intake to Lowest Level in 44 Years

The Guardian: Norway has had a sugar tax since 1922 and more recently has created separate taxes for confectionery and sugary drinks. Norwegians are eating less sugar than at any time in the last 44 years, the health directorate in Oslo has said, announcing that annual consumption per person had fallen by more than 1kg a year since 2000. Read more
‘Global Epidemic’ of Childhood Inactivity

‘Global Epidemic’ of Childhood Inactivity

BBC: Four in five 11- to 17-year-olds around the world are not taking enough physical exercise, according to the first such analysis. The World Health Organization says children's health is being damaged as well as their brain development and social skills. It says failing to take the recommended hour a day of exercise is a universal problem in rich and poor countries. Read more

HCC Technical Brief and Eight Advocacy Priorities

HCC Technical Brief:
HCC Technical Brief: First United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage: Technical Brief for CARICOM Countries - A Contribution from Civil Society.
Read download
HCC Advocacy Priorities
HCC Advocacy Priorities for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage.

HCC Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies

Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
We have created social media graphics to campaign for the implementation of our Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies. The graphics can be downloaded here.
Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard
NCD Alliance


In this edition:
  • Norway announces global strategy to tackle NCDs in low-income countries
  • 'Adolescents are not sufficiently physically active', says WHO
  • Egyptian NCD Alliance leading regional NCD summit
  • Join NCDA's webinar on NCDs in humanitarian settings 
  • Seize the opportunity to attend the Global NCDA Forum 2020
  • Alcohol advertisements to be banned near Irish schools
  • RHAS invites experts to discuss youth health needs
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

NCDs - Context and Situation Summary

Taken from: First United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage: Technical Brief for CARICOM Countries – A Contribution from Civil Society
NCDs - Context and Situation Summary
Read more
Our Publications
CARD 2018: Youth: Let’s Talk About Alcohol
A set of infographics and social media graphics
Read more
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable Infographics
Caribbean Fruit and Vegetable Infographics - guidance on serving sizes for common Caribbean fruits and vegetables
Read more
See All HCC Publications
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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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