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August 22nd


Webinar: Weighing the Impact of COVID-19: Nutrition, Overweight, Obesity and NCDs

August 27th 2020 from 10:00am - 11:30am EST
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) is pleased to announce the continuation of its special webinar series on COVID-19 and NCDs in the Caribbean. The fourth webinar in the series will be held on August 27th 2020 from 10:00am - 11:30am EST and will focus on emerging trends in diet, overweight and obesity among adults and children and resulting short- and longer-term clinical outcomes. Through a roundtable format, a diverse panel of physicians, researchers and advocates from across the region will share personal experiences and discuss individual and population level strategies to encourage improved nutrition and management of diet-related NCDs during and after the pandemic.

The objective this webinar is to reflect on the nutrition environment over the course of the pandemic and the resulting direct and indirect impacts on health; and discuss individual and population level strategies to encourage improved nutrition and management of diet-related NCDs during and after the pandemic. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised fundamental food insecurity questions and concerns in the Caribbean. As communities adjusted to protracted periods of lockdown, resulting in widespread reduction and loss of incomes, it is likely that diets shifted to consumption of low cost processed, non-perishable foods. The food and beverage industry also took advantage of the critical shortages of food among the most vulnerable by intensifying and diversifying their marketing strategies under the guise of corporate social philanthropy. 

Through a combination of presentations and discussion, panellists will explore the following key themes over the course of the webinar:
  • COVID and Obesity
  • Trends in BMI among paediatric and adult patients during the pandemic.
  • Factors contributing to pandemic weight gain in children and adults.
  • The role of the food and beverage industry in the obesity epidemic – prior to and during COVID-19
  • Implications of weight gain among children and adults on COVID and NCD risk
  • Moving forward: the importance of nutrition equity and strategies to achieve this at the individual, community, institutional and national levels; strategies to maintain/ reduce BMI at the individual level; policies to tackle overweight and obesity at the national level.
Opening and closing remarks will be made by Sir Trevor Hassell, HCC President and the webinar will be moderated by Ms. Maisha Hutton, HCC Executive Director.

Ms. Zanique Edwards
Young person living with type 1 Diabetes
Dr. Suzanne Soares
Nutritionist. CAIHR
Professor Anne St. John
Consultant Paediatrician, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, UWI, Cave Hill, Barbados, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados
Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis
Paediatrician, Head Paediatric Department, Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Antigua
Dr. Tanya Beaubrun
Family Physician
Dr. Elisa Prieto
Caribbean Subregional NCD and Mental Health Advisor, PAHO
View the flyer or read more on our website.

Need To Engage Youth More Critical Than Ever - HCC Youth Advocates Spread the Word

Jamaica Gleaner: August 12 was International Youth Day, which commemorated the publishing of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes in 1998. The theme for 2020 was “Youth Engagement for Global Action” and aimed to celebrate the many ways that young people are engaged in formal institutions at the local, regional, and global levels while also highlighting areas for improvement.
The need to engage youth is critical now more than ever as Caribbean leaders, in collaboration with key stakeholders across diverse sectors, including civil society, map out plans to effectively manage and rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis. These initial conversations and the eventual “build back better” blueprints will determine the legacy that will be left to future generations, and a critical voice – the youth voice, our voice – should not be left out. After all, how can we build a future without the voice of the future?
Read more
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COVID-19 Coronavirus

Countries Must Expand Services to Cope With Mental Health Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic, PAHO Director Says

Photo: PAHO
PAHO: Countries in the Americas should expand and invest in mental health services to cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne said this week.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a mental health crisis in our region at a scale we’ve never seen before. It’s a perfect storm in every country, as we see growing needs and reduced resources to address them. It is urgent that mental health support is considered a critical component of the pandemic response,” she said.

“Mental health and domestic violence services are essential services, and we must place emphasis on addressing the gaps that have been laid bare by the pandemic. Today, I ask countries to take the steps required to ensure everyone can receive the care they need and deserve,” Etienne told a press briefing.

Dr Etienne noted that coronavirus cases in the Americas have reached almost 11.5 million and over 400,000 people have died. “The Americas have approximately 13% of the world’s population, but 64% of officially reported global deaths,” she said.
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Improving Nutrition in Schools

Improving Nutrition in Schools
Photo: Barbados Today website
Barbados Today: ‘Act Now!’ That’s the title given to the most recent campaign of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados’ Childhood Obesity Prevention (COP) Programme. (see below)

Launched last week, this campaign aims to encourage policymakers to implement a Healthy Nutrition in Schools Policy, including the removal of unhealthy foods and sugary drinks from schools with the support of parents/guardians as well as teachers.

‘Act Now!’ follows other successful COP campaigns in the past that served to sensitize the general public on the issues of childhood obesity and their impact on the health and wellbeing of our young persons. This campaign targets the policy makers especially as they hold the power to make policy, legislate and bring into existence protective measures that will ensure our children are growing up in healthy environments.
Read more
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados Virtual Launch of their Act Now! Mass Media Campaign 
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados held the Virtual Launch of their Act Now! Mass Media Campaign for childhood obesity prevention on  Wednesday, August 12th 2020. The launch featured a panel discussion on the topic  "COVID 19 & Childhood Obesity Prevention - Making a case for strong School Nutrition Policy"Watch the recording here

Related media:

Good Nutrition Important To Fight Ailments

Photo: Dan Gold/Unsplash
Jamaica Gleaner: The threat of a second wave of COVID-19 has the nursing association worried about the shortage of hospital beds and the impending increased workload for their members. While the country is doing a great job of disseminating messages to the population regarding hygiene practices, many Jamaicans are still not compliant.

Many of COVID-19 patients who reach hospital are the elderly and those with nutrition-related chronic disorders (NCDs) such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and others. Moreover, they also are likely to have extended hospital stays thus increasing the cost of care and a higher death rate, leaving families to mourn, along with facing great financial costs.
Read more

Caribbean Food Sovereignty During COVID-19

Caribbean Food Sovereignty During COVID-19
Photo: Neil Palmer/CIAT
NACLA: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, disruptions to global food and agriculture prompted Caribbean nation-states to increase local food production to enhance regional food security. In the wake of such efforts, the Caribbean Agricultural Research Institute (CARDI) unveiled a comprehensive plan to support these small island states in increasing domestic food production.

In this plan, CARDI identified cassava as a critical component in augmenting the scale of food produced in the region. The Institute views cassava as vital because it can be widely grown and locally processed into food items such as flour, starch, and chips. According to Barton Clarke, CARDI’S Executive Director, these domestically produced food items can reduce the region’s extreme dependence on imported foodstuff to ensure food security.
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St Lucia Expands Hearts Initiative to Build Back Better NCD Services

Photo: PAHO
PAHO: “Through HEARTS we propose to improve the health of a cohort of patients with Cardiovascular and other Non-Communicable Disease in St Lucia”. 

These were the sentiments echoed by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Sharon Belmar-George at the Webinar hosted by the PAHO Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Offices on July 7, 2020.

The HEARTS initiative was launched in St Lucia on October 31, 2019 with the aim at improving the prevention and control of cardiovascular health through Blood Pressure Control and other modalities. This programme is being implemented in collaboration with PAHO/WHO and the general population in St Lucia.  Six demonstration sites were selected with a demonstration site in six of the eight health regions in the country.
Read more
COVID-19 Comms Resources
HCC COVID-19 Webpage

Mexico Moves to Ban Junk Food Sales to Children, Citing Obesity As Coronavirus Risk Factor

Photo: Alex Cruz/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Washington Post: Spurred by growing evidence that being overweight increases the risk of serious illness with an infection by the novel coronavirus, a number of Mexican states are moving to ban the sale of junk food to children.
On Monday, legislators in Tabasco voted to prohibit the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed foods to anyone under 18, just 12 days after Oaxaca took similar action.
The pandemic has created an explosion of awareness about why Mexicans are so vulnerable to certain diseases, prompting ambitious new bills in at least 10 states and Mexico City. Tabasco legislator Manuel Gordillo Bonfil said in a statement that the covid-19 pandemic is a historic opportunity to establish public policies that protect the health of children.
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Policy Paper: Tackling Obesity: Empowering Adults and Children to Live Healthier Lives

We have known for decades that living with obesity reduces life expectancy and increases the chance of serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In the last few months we have seen that excess weight puts individuals at risk of worse outcomes from coronavirus (COVID-19).

This publication outlines actions the government will take to tackle obesity and help adults and children to live healthier lives. Read more
Press Release: New Obesity Strategy Unveiled As Country Urged to Lose Weight to Beat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Protect the NHS

A raft of measures have been revealed as part of the government’s new obesity strategy to get the nation fit and healthy, protect themselves against COVID-19 and protect the NHS.

Obesity is one of the biggest health crises the country faces. Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults in England are overweight or living with obesity – and 1 in 3 children leave primary school overweight or obese, with obesity-related illnesses costing the NHS £6 billion a year. Read more

More Research Suggests Obesity Increases COVID-19 Severity by 70 per Cent

More Research Suggests Obesity Increases COVID-19 Severity by 70 per Cent
Photo: website More evidence has been published which suggests obesity and being overweight increase the chances of becoming severely unwell with COVID-19.

Obese people are 70 per cent more likely to require hospital treatment should they contract the condition and even being overweight increases the risk by 40 per cent.
The team from University College London looked at the health data of more than 300,000 people, 640 of who were admitted to hospital during the peak of the pandemic.
Read more

Recent Research

Stay Active

Special Grants Call: COVID-19

Opens 1pm Bst on 1 September 2020
Commonwealth Foundation
Commonwealth Foundation
The Commonwealth Foundation’s Grants Programme supports innovative project ideas and approaches that seek to strengthen the ability of civic voices to engage with governments to improve governance and development outcomes through their active participation. In lieu of our annual grants call, we are launching a special grants call in response to the COVID–19 pandemic.

The purpose of the special grants call is to enable the Foundation to deliver support to Commonwealth civil society organisations in response to COVID-19 quickly, efficiently and in a way that both reflects and advances our broader mission. To that end, the focus will be on supporting national initiatives that aim to engage constructively with government in strengthening relevant institutions, policies and practices as communities and countries seek to recover and rebuild.
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Specialized Course on Food Security at the Time of COVID-19

(26 - 30 October 2020)
Specialized Course on Food Security at the Time of COVID-19
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), in cooperation with John Cabot University (JCU), is organizing the second edition of the Specialized Course on Food and Nutrition Security at the time of COVID-19, which will be delivered online, from 26 to 30 October 2020.

The Specialized Course will provide participants with a fundamental understanding of main determinants and issues connected to food security, among which:
  • Towards the multidimensional definition of food security
  • The UN strategy for Goal 2 “Zero Hunger” (SDGs)
  • Legal tools on right to food, food safety and security
  • Pandemic outbreaks and impact on food safety and security 
  • COVID-19, conflicts, migration and food insecurity
  • Food industry and food fraud: counterfeiting and adulteration 
  • Migration and food insecurity
  • Innovation for the future: blockchain for Zero Hunger
Read more


Whiteman Gets Healthy Food Policy Fellowship

Stephanie Whiteman
Stephanie Whiteman
Photo: Trinidad & Tobago Guardian website
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian: National women’s team hockey player Stephanie Whiteman, daughter of the former national duo, Kenneth Whiteman and Carol Wynn-Whiteman is one of three candidates selected by Vital Strategies as the Healthy Food Policy Fellows for this year which is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies for three years. The selection committee reviewed 33 applications of and conducted interviews before shortlisting 11 candidates from which the final decisions were made.
The fellows are from countries where we focus on obesity prevention in Barbados where she attends university, Mexico, and Jamaica and will be pursuing different fields of study to bridge the research gaps and contribute to healthier food environments, through the use of the public policy, in their respective countries.
Read more

United Nations to Caribbean: Your Children Are Too Fat, Healthier School Meals Needed to Teach Children to Eat Right

United Nations to Caribbean: Your Children Are Too Fat, Healthier School Meals Needed to Teach Children to Eat Right
Photo: Pixzolo Photography/Shutterstock
St Kitts & Nevis Observer: Caribbean managers and professionals are starting a course to strengthen their skills in implementing school feeding programs.

The course coordinator, Flávia Schwartzman, has explained how the course will be developed, highlighting that the content was conceptualized specifically for the Caribbean, with the partnership of the University of the West Indies and professors. Representatives from Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago will participate.
Read more

Heart Failure, Hypertensive Deaths Rise in Black Women and Men

Heart Failure, Hypertensive Deaths Rise in Black Women and Men
Photo: Hush Naidoo/Unsplash
Eureka Alert: Deaths due to heart failure and hypertensive heart disease are increasing in the U.S. -- particularly in Black women and men -- despite medical and surgical advances in heart disease management, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

The study for the first time comprehensively characterizes mortality between 1999-2018 across a spectrum of heart disease types and examines differences between sex and racial groups across age groups and geography. Although ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease) remains the leading cause of heart disease deaths, the study reports heart failure and hypertensive heart disease is growing rapidly.
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New Study Finds a Connection Between Traffic Noise and Obesity

New Study Finds a Connection Between Traffic Noise and Obesity
Photo: Free-Photos from Pixabay
Medical Life Sciences: Transport noise is a major problem in Europe, with over 100 million people living in areas where road traffic noise exceeds levels greater than 55dB, the health-based threshold set by the EU. A new study by the University of Oxford and the University of Leicester has found a connection between traffic noise and obesity. Long-term exposure to road traffic noise, such as living near a motorway or on a busy road, was associated with an increase in body mass index and waist circumference, which are key markers of obesity. The study was published today in the journal Environmental Research.
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Women in Global Health and Find Consultation on Testing, Women’s Empowerment and Universal Health Coverage

We need your views – please complete our survey
Women in Global Health
Image: WGH
All countries have committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to deliver Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.  The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a critical spotlight on the role of testing in health. Containing the spread of COVID-19 will depend on effective diagnostics being accessible to all, including women and girls, who are often the most marginalised in health systems.
Complete the Survey

Regional Call for Proposals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Generating and Mobilizing Innovative Knowledge for Regional Education Challenges

Regional Call for Proposals in Latin America and the Caribbean
IDRC/CRDI: This call is open to individual Southern organizations or consortia of up to three organizations based in the region. The applicant organization/lead institution must have legal corporate registration and the capacity to administer foreign funds.
Read more
If you would like to respond to, or comment on any of the articles featured in our weekly news roundup please email

NCD Alliance Newsletter

NCD Alliance
  • How will you #ActOnNCDs this September? Check out new resources
  • Kenya and COVID-19: People living with NCDs make key asks
  • Commercial determinants of health and COVID-19 webinar
  • Read NCD Child's new report on building a future policy framework
  • NCDA partner Access Accelerated launches Year 3 Report
  • How civil society stood up for health information and won 
  • Take WHO's survey to update cervical cancer evidence
Read more

Our Work

Childhood Obesity Prevention Scorecard

Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean

Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean
Social media graphics to campaign for the implementation of our Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies
Our 'Sweet Beverages in the Caribbean' infographics are now available as a package, the package includes the full size infographic, a web-booklet version, a full colour printable version, reduced colour version for in house printing and three social media visuals which are shown below.
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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.

Childhood Obesity Prevention Visuals

A set of infographics, highlighting childhood obesity, the risks and the HCC policy asks.
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Childhood Obesity Prevention
Childhood Obesity Prevention Visuals
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Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
Childhood Obesity Prevention policies
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Our Publications
CARD 2019: Women and Alcohol
CARD 2019: Women and Alcohol
A set of infographics
Read more
Call to Urgent Action
Call to Urgent Action - Infographics and Social Media Visuals
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See All HCC Publications

Key Messages From Our Publications

Call to Urgent Action
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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.

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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