Too Much Junk
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The Healthy Caribbean Coalition

April 29th - May 3rd 2018


Public Health Prevails in Jamaica

On Tuesday, May 1, the Lawsuit Filed Against the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) by Wisynco Group Limited was Withdrawn.
The following statement has been released by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica.
May 1st, 2018

On Tuesday May 1st, the lawsuit filed against the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) by Wisynco Group Limited (“Wisynco”) was voluntarily withdrawn. The HFJ is pleased that Wisynco has taken this step.

However, in order to correct some inaccuracies being circulated and for clarity, we would like to state the following:
  1. Wisynco's complaint was not in relation to the entire campaign but to one Instagram post that appeared on the 28th of February 2018. At no time did they make a challenge to the campaign as a whole.
  2. The Instagram post did contain 1 reference to 'Cran Wata'.
  3. The Instagram post was removed on the 1st March 2018 by the HFJ on its own volition - less than 24 hours later. The HFJ was served with the lawsuit on April 23rd, 2018.
  4. The Heart Foundation filed a defence to the claim, in that defence the Heart Foundation among other things said;
    1. that the words and image in the post were not defamatory of Wisynco or any of its products.
    2. that the words and images in the post did not in fact refer to Wisynco.
    3. that the post was true in substance
    4. that the post represented fair comment on a matter of public interest namely the contribution of sugary sweetened beverages (‘SSBs’) to obesity/overweight in Jamaica with the consequent deleterious effect on health.
  5. Heart Foundation filed 2 Affidavits in opposition to the application for injunction and instructed its attorneys to resist any application for an injunction.
  6. It was Wisynco’s decision not to pursue the application for an injunction and to discontinue the action against the Heart Foundation. There was no prior agreement between Wisynco and the Heart Foundation under which the action was discontinued. In fact the Heart  Foundation’s attorney attended court today fully expecting to present arguments in opposition to the application for an injunction.
  7. Costs were ordered in favour of the Heart Foundation. Wisynco having discontinued the claim would be liable to pay the Heart Foundation’s cost under the Rules of the Supreme Court.
  8. The Heart Foundation maintains that at no time did it defame or otherwise disparage Wisynco or any of its products and if given the opportunity expected to demonstrate this to a judge of the Supreme Court.
Given the rising rates of non-communicable diseases (‘NCDs’) and obesity in Jamaica, the Heart Foundation last November, launched a public health awareness campaign, along with the Ministry of Health/Jamaica Moves. The objective of this campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of consuming excessive sugar from sugary sweetened beverages (SSB’s) which can lead to obesity. In Jamaica SSB’s are the main contributor to sugar intake. The campaign informs the public about the levels of sugar present in SSB’s. Consuming excess sugar increases the risk of diabetes, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some cancers.

Unlike fruits, and other complex carbohydrate-containing foods, sugary drinks are non-essential foods with little or no nutritional value. Sugary drinks are particularly harmful to the body as sugar in liquid form is absorbed more quickly by the liver than the liver might be able to process and release, the excess becoming stored as fat or glycogen deposits in the liver. This can lead to fatty liver disease and increased risks for diabetes and other NCDs. SSB’s do not satisfy hunger, are widely available and relatively inexpensive. Drinking SSBs can therefore lead to excess calories which contributes to weight gain and obesity.

Leading health organizations like World Health Organization have warned about the growing obesity epidemic and proposed solutions to address this problem, including cutting back on sugar consumption. For this reason, Heart Foundation joined many health and consumer organizations worldwide to deliver this important message to consumers in their countries.

We are encouraged by recent announcements from some private sector companies that they have, or are working on, reducing the sugar levels in their products. This is a positive development and we hope that other companies will consider this measure in the interest of public health.
See the original statement here.
Related Media:
The withdrawal of the lawsuit against the Heart Foundation of Jamaica follows a wave of support from across the globe, lead by the HCC, the Healthy Latin America Coalition (CLAS) the NCD Alliance and it's partners.



The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), on the occasion of the “HCC Caribbean NCD Forum: Supporting National Advocacy in Lead up to the 2018 High Level Meeting on NCDs. Towards 25*25 and the SDGs”, in Kingston, Jamaica, April 23-25, 2018, expresses our strong support for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) and the objectives of its campaign to contribute to obesity prevention and control in Jamaica by informing the public about the health harms of the over-consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. 
As a collective of some 100+ civil society organisations representing every CARICOM country, the health of the peoples of the Caribbean, is at the centre of everything we do. The recent headline in the Jamaican Gleaner, dated April 25, 2018 entitled “Water War - Wisynco sues Heart Foundation over Campaign against sugary beverages” is therefore of serious concern to the HCC.
Evidence-based research from international organisations such as the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that added sugars in processed foods and beverages are linked to obesity and in turn contribute to NCDs such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.  Premature mortality from these diseases in the Caribbean is the highest in our region. As organisations entrusted with protecting the health of Caribbean citizens - especially that of our children - we say ENOUGH. Our role as civil society organisations is to help inform our respective citizens about the health risks posed by unhealthy food and beverage consumption. We shall continue to do this in the responsible, urgent manner that the scale of the NCD crisis in our region demands. We also recall that our regional leaders have pledged to protect children and adults alike, by improving food environments through several measures, including ‘banning advertisement of potentially harmful foods which specifically target children; [and] elevating taxes on foods high in sugar, salt and trans-fats’ (Communiqué issued at the conclusion of The Thirty-Seventh Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, 4-6 July 2016, Georgetown, Guyana).
Besides being the major cause of premature deaths in our region, NCDs represent a real and present threat to the region’s sustainable development. We urge all stakeholders to put the health of our Caribbean people first.

The Board of Directors of the HCC
The HCC is a coalition of 100+ CSOs across CARICOM
See the original letter here.

Underscoring the Importance of Public Awareness Campaigns to Prevent NCDs

Heart Foundation of Jamaica Mass Media Campaign ‘Are you drinking yourself sick?’ for Public Health

The NCD Alliance, together with the World Heart Federation, Coalición Latinoamérica Saludable, and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, wishes to underscore the importance of mass media campaigns to protect and promote public health. We make this statement specifically in light of the news of the lawsuit brought by Wisynco Group Limited to the Heart Foundation of Jamaica regarding, ‘Are you drinking yourself sick?’, their campaign alerting Jamaicans to the harmful health effects of excessive sugar intake and encouraging them to consume less sugar.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, accounting for 78.5% of mortality in Jamaica in 2015, and 70% globally. Much of the suffering from these conditions are attributable to four major and modifiable risk factors, including unhealthy diet. Unhealthy diets can specifically lead to obesity, cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among other chronic yet preventable diseases.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are markers of and contributors to unhealthy diets, and can lead to obesity, with childhood obesity rates in Jamaica of particular alarming concern. To reduce the contribution of sugar to unhealthy diets, the World Health Organization recommends “reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake” in both adults and children.(i) Jamaica’s sugar intake has increased significantly in the past 15 years, and population level consumption exceeds WHO recommended limits, particularly in children.

Globally, the commitment to protect populations from sugar sweetened beverage (SSBs) is gathering speed. A package of evidence-based and cost-effective policy recommendations for NCD prevention and control, developed by the World Health Organization, is being implemented by many governments. Suggested interventions within this package include mass media campaigns, nutrition education, improved nutrition labelling, and taxes on SSBs. The work by the Heart Foundation of Jamaica specifically responds to the recommendation for “mass media campaigns on healthy diets, including social marketing to reduce the intake of total fat, saturated fats, sugars and salt, and promote the intake of fruits and vegetables”.(ii)

In promoting the campaign ‘Are you drinking yourself sick?’ the Heart Foundation of Jamaica has sought to ensure that the population of Jamaica are able to benefit from similar measures to those which have already been implemented around the world. The governments of Hungary, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Tonga have all implemented public awareness campaigns to reduce sugar consumption. Similar efforts have been made by subnational departments of health including in New York and other US states, while civil society organisations in Australia, Colombia and Mexico have strengthened official government responses.(iii)(iv)

With world leaders convening for the third United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on NCDs later this year in New York, the NCD Alliance is calling on all governments to accelerate action on NCDs, scale up action on childhood obesity, and implement smart fiscal policies for health, such as SSB taxes. We hope the UNHLM will provide an opportunity to showcase good practice and leadership by governments in the fight against NCDs, such as that of Jamaica, and incentivise others to take bold decisive action to bend the curve on these diseases.

We strongly urge priority be placed on the health of citizens, with the global market shifting toward healthier beverages. We cannot afford for industry interests to dominate public discourse at the expense of protecting the health of populations. We stand firmly with the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and commend its commitment to educating Jamaicans about the harms of excessive sugar consumption. Such actions are in full alignment with its mandate to ensure Jamaicans have a longer and better quality of life through the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease.

See the original statement here.

Related Media:

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Holness:
The Healthy Latin America Coalition or CLAS (for its abbreviation in Spanish) wishes to express strong support for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) and its campaign to make the population of Jamaica aware of the harm that is caused by overconsumption of sugar sweetened beverages. The public should understand the connection between these beverages, obesity, and resulting disease such as diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.

CLAS is a regional non-communicable diseases (NCDs) alliance for Latin America, representing over 250 non-government organizations, whose purpose is to prevent and control NCDs in our region. Its members include medical societies, patient organizations, health NGOs, consumer protection organizations, religious entities, and academic institutions. Founded in 2011, CLAS is focused on reducing inequities, protecting human rights, and promoting effective policies with an impact on risk factors and determinants of NCDs.

Obesity is increasing in all of the Americas. But it is particularly prevalent in Jamaica and the Caribbean. The resulting diseases are a major burden to the healthcare system, families and individuals. No government can expect to improve the economic and social well-being of its citizens while ignoring the determinants of health. See recent series in The Lancet on the economics of unhealthy diets, smoking and sedentary behaviors: The Lancet Taskforce on NCDs and economics (April 11, 2018). It shows the tight-knit connection between economic growth and controlling NCDs.

We support the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) as well in its work to reduce premature mortality from these diseases in the Caribbean. HCC, as does CLAS, has a signifcant role to help inform the public about the health risks posed by unhealthy food and beverage consumption.

Sincerely yours,
Beatriz Marcet Champagne, PhD
See the original letter here.

Related Media:

World Heart Federation Support Childhood Obesity Prevention Call to Action

Staff Members at the World Heart Federation Supporting the HCC's Call to Action on Childhood Obesity

Barbadians Sign to Reduce Childhood Obesity

Top left: HCC's Communication and Advocacy Officer, Francine Charles addressing hundreds of Barbadians, other photos, Barbadians signing the Call to Action
Barbadians from all walks of life answered the call to support  the prevention of Childhood Obesity during that country's recent Labour Day Parade. Thanks to the Barbados Workers Union (BWU), the HCC's Communication and Advocacy Officer, Francine Charles had the opportunity to address hundreds of Barbadians who turned out to take part in the Parade. Mrs Charles asked the attendees to take time out to reflect on the region's children who are supposed to be the Caribbean's future workforce, but who are at risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer in their adult life due to the over-consumption of sugar sweetened drinks and junk food mixed with an increasing lack of exercise.

The Call to Action supports the region's leaders in their decision coming out of the 2016 CARICOM Summit to protect our children by improving food environments. Barbadians responded positively to the call as they signed and shared the #toomuchjunk Call to Action.
Dr  Sanneta Myrie
Dr  Sanneta Myrie, The Go Red for Women Ambassador for the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and  Former Miss Jamaica 2015
Dr. Carlene Radix
Dr. Carlene Radix, Head of the Health Unit, Social and Sustainable Development Division, OECS Commission
Sign the petition
Related Media:
Jamaica Star: Group wants 20 per cent tax on sweetened drinks

Caribbean Forum Supports Regional Fight Against Diabetes and Other NCDs

Meeting ends with a plan for lead-up process to the UN High-level meeting in September
World Diabetes Foundation
On April 23 - 25, 2018 in Kingston, Jamaica, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), supported by the World Diabetes Foundation and Sagicor Life, hosted the Caribbean NCD Forum: Supporting national and regional advocacy in the Caribbean in the lead up to the 3rd UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs. 
The primary goal was to mobilise regional stakeholders to ensure that the Caribbean is fully engaged in the 3rd UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, which will be held on September 27th in New York at the UN General Assembly.
The meeting brought together a diverse group of more than 100 stakeholders including representatives from civil society, government and the private sector working to combat NCDs in the region under the banner of the NCD Alliance's global ENOUGH NCDs campaign. 
Read more

CANby25 May Newsletter

CANby25 May Newsletter
  • Registration now open - 2018 HLM on NCDs Civil Society Hearing
  • Update from the WHO Global Dialogue on financing for NCDs
  • Are you attending 71st World Health Assembly (WHA)? Let the Advocacy team know
  • Get involved on social media - Amp up the Treatment for All message
  • Submit your successful collaborations to be showcased in the 2018 World Cancer Congress
Read more

NCDs Take Up 70% of Health Budget

Jamaica Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley
Jamaica Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley
Photo: Jamaica Observer (file photo)
Jamaica (JIS) - Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr Andrew Wheatley, says non-communicable diseases (NCDs) take up 70 per cent of the country's health budget, and represent the biggest public health challenge globally in the 21st Century.

Wheatley said it is against this background that the World Health Organization (WHO)  recommends that member states give this matter “full priority” by developing “policies for the prevention and control” of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.

The minister was speaking at a Diabetes outreach conference at the Jewel Resort, Runaway Bay, St Ann, on April 26, sponsored by the Universities of the West Indies, Technology and Northern Caribbean.  Wheatley noted that in 2005, the WHO, in a report, said that some vital investments will be needed to tackle the problem.

“Non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, account for 60 per cent of all deaths worldwide. Four out of every five deaths from chronic diseases come from low and middle income countries,” he said.
Read more

Turks & Caicos Government to Focus on Primary Healthcare

Turks & Caicos Government to Focus on Primary Healthcare
A concerted effort is being made to prioritise primary healthcare in a bid to reduce the financial burden on the treatment abroad programme.

The skyrocketing cost of the programme and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases has compelled the government to gear its energy towards improving facilities and promoting healthy lifestyle practices.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday (April 23), Minister of Health Hon Edwin Astwood said greater focus needs to be placed on disease prevention and early detection to decrease the burden on secondary care.

He pointed out that it is more cost effective and efficient to invest in resources required for primary healthcare facilities and to undertake prevention work to curtail the prevalence of non-communicable diseases, as opposed to focusing on the far costlier curative aspect of medical care.
Read more

Short Survey: Which NCD Groups Do You Work With?

Prevnt20 Survey
The theme of this year’s World No Tobacco Day is tobacco’s impact on cardiovascular health. For Prevent20, it’s a reminder that the policies we support to reduce tobacco-related cancer also help to reduce tobacco-related cardiovascular, lung, diabetes, and a host of other diseases. We share the same goal.

By collaborating with other non-communicable disease organizations, such as heart, lung, and diabetes, we can amplify our message and create a strong, unified voice to advocate for tobacco tax. In this survey, we are assessing the extent to which you are already collaborating with these organizations and to evaluate whether Prevent20 can help to support these efforts.  Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.
Take survey

Public Lecture and Discussion

Dr Kenneth Connell
Barbados Drug Service invites you to a public lecture and discussion, The Management of Hypertension in Barbados:  Drilling Down the Numbers in 2018, Getting Hyped about Hypertension

Dr Kenneth Connell, Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Tuesday May 8, 2018, 7.00pm-8.30pm
Read more

Barbados National Registry Cancer Snapshot

Barbados National Registry Cancer Snapshot
The BNR’s mission is clear to ‘collect, collate and disseminate timely and accurate national data on the occurrence of cancer, stroke and acute MI in order to contribute to prevention, control and treatment…’. With this mission in mind through 2018 we will be updating you on the new strategic pathways to accomplishing our mission and goals. We also want to hear from you—especially regarding ways to improve our input on cancer care and control in Barbados and the Caribbean. We look forward to sharing and hearing from you.
Read more

Scotland Becomes First Country to Enforce a Minimum Alcohol Price

The price of cheap, high-strength alcohol has gone up in Scotland as long-awaited legislation on minimum pricing comes into force. The law, which sets a floor price for drinks depending on how many units of alcohol they contain, was passed in 2012 but has faced legal challenges.

The Scottish government said the move would cut consumption and save lives. High-strength white cider and cheap own-brand vodka and whisky will see the biggest rise in prices.
Read more
Related Media:
CNN: Scotland becomes first country to enforce a minimum alcohol price
The Economist: Scotland introduces a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol

The Alcohol Industry's Latest Dirty Tricks Campaign

The Alcohol Industry's Latest Dirty Tricks Campaign
Memes, influencers, user-generated content. Social media is changing the way the alcohol industry is pushing its products into the minds and mouths of young people. For the most part it’s an unregulated space, almost impossible to monitor and the alcohol industry is taking full advantage.

The underside of alcohol advertising was thrown into the spotlight recently when cider company Little Fat Lamb was exposed for promoting their alco-pop style cider to young people with cheap prices – as low as $4 for eight standard drinks - and distasteful social media content.
Read more

NCD Alliance Webinar - Tuesday 8th May

NCD Alliance Webinar - Tuesday 8th May
The NCD Alliance will be holding their next webinar on Tuesday 8 May from 09:00-10:30 EDT // 15:00 - 16:30 CET. The powerpoint slides and recording will be made available on the NCD Alliance website after the webinar. 
Discussion will include:
  • 2018 Campaign Spotlight: ENOUGH
  • 71st World Health Assembly
  • Official preparations for the 2018 UN HLM
Register here
Key Messages From Our Publications
Alcohol and Cancer in the Caribbean, a series of eleven Infographic Panels
Alcohol and Cancer in the Caribbeans
Read more

HCC Publications

NCDs and Trade Policy in the Caribbean
NCDs and Trade Policy in the Caribbean
Read more
Civil Society Led Tobacco Control Advocacy in the Caribbean
Civil Society Led Tobacco Control Advocacy in the Caribbean
Read more
See All HCC Publications
The NCD Alliance
  • Industry withdraws SSBs campaign lawsuit
  • Next NCDA webinar -  8 May: WHA71, UN HLM and more
  • Informal briefing for Member States on NCDs in New York
  • Creating an NCD action plan for CSOs in Nigeria
  • 9/10 people worldwide are breathing polluted air - WHO
  • World record holder to take part in 'Walk the Talk' challenge
  • Policies to promote the Mediterranean & Nordic diets
Read more
Forthcoming Events

8th Caribbean Association of Oncology & Hematology Conference

8th Caribbean Association of Oncology & Hematology Conference
May 11th-12th, 2018, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port of Spain,Trinidad.
Read more

Barbados Association of Palliative Care Presents “All With You” In Concert

Saturday, 12th May 2018, 7 pm, at the Royal Barbados Police Band Headquarters, Station Hill, St. Michael.

Admission: $25.00 (Refreshments on Sale), for more information contact Deiann Sobers at

Cancer Support Services Special Benefit Concert

Cancer Support Services Special Benefit Concert
Read more

Barbados Association of Palliative Care Conference

Arms of Compassion
Tuesday, 22 May 2018 at the Radisson Hotel, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.
For more information contact: Ms. Deiann Sobers – 418-6915/234-9196 or Email:
Read more

World No Tobacco Day, 31 May 2018

World No Tobacco Day
Read more

The 3rd Annual Caribbean Nutrition Conference

Hosted by the Caribbean Institute of Nutrition & Dietetics (CIND) at the Hilton Barbados from June 6 - 8th, 2018
Garden To Plate
Read more

5th Annual Medical Conference & Community Outreach Program

Read more

CARPHA 63rd Health Research Conference

Read more

The 5th Biennial 2018 Science of Global Prostate Cancer

November 7 - 10th, 2018 at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
Call for Abstracts
Read more

Caribbean Cardiology Conference 2018

Caribbean Cardiology Conference 2018
Read more

World Cancer Conference 2018

World Cancer Conference 2018
Read more

World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health

World Congress of Cardiology & Cardiovascular Health
Read more
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HCC News Roundup Archive - If you have missed any of our News Roundups you can view previous Roundups on our News Roundup Archive webpage here.
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.

To join the HCC email us at
The work of HCC would not be possible without core funding from Sagicor Life Inc
Sagicor Life Inc.
The HCC promote the work of civil society throughout the Caribbean in a variety of ways including sharing of their materials, this is not an endorsement of their materials or messages. The information contained in this newsletter is for general information purposes only, we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct but any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. Through this newsletter you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of the HCC. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.
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