SAN JUAN – The Caribbean Public Health Agency, known as CARPHA, has formed a regional task force to develop an action plan to reduce childhood obesity.
The announcement comes months after the organization published Plan of Action for Promoting Healthy Weights: 2014-2019, the Caribbean Community said Friday in a statement.
By 2019, the CARPHA task force should be ready to assist governments in “providing children with more supportive environments for physical activity and healthy eating” and “empowering communities to embrace active living and healthful eating.”
CARPHA member-states will be expected to provide appropriate incentives to discourage unhealthy consumption patterns and to ensure children are safeguarded from bias and stigmatization associated with their condition, among other tasks.
“The responsibility for protecting the future of our children should be shared by all sectors, both public and private, all levels of government and by families and civil society at large,” CARPHA Executive Director James Hospedales said.
CARPHA has an integrated strategy to address nutrition-related diseases in Caribbean countries, where the proportion of overweight or obese people is in the range of 28 percent to 35 percent.
Consumption of sweetened beverages, limited intake of water and fresh fruit and vegetables and low levels of physical activity are significantly correlated with weight problems, the organization said.
CARPHA member states are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Martin, Saba, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands.