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Ministry of Health and Human Services observes World Obesity Day and Shines a Spotlight on Health Challenges and Solutions



Grand Turk – March 4 marks World Obesity Day, a global initiative shedding light on the pressing issue of obesity and its implications on health and well-being. In the Caribbean, a region rich in diverse cultures and traditions, food holds a profound significance within family life. From the passing down of traditional recipes through generations to the cherished gatherings around the dinner table, food is deeply embedded in Caribbean culture.


Families and friends often come together for lavish dinners, holidays, birthdays, graduations, and various social occasions, where food takes center stage. However, amidst the festivities, little attention is often paid to the potentially harmful impact of our dietary choices and ingredients used in meal preparation. Meals are often high in fat, sugar, and salt, in large portions.


As the Turks and Caicos Islands and other Caribbean nations continue to modernize, there’s a noticeable shift away from traditional diets based on plants, whole grains, beans, and fish. Instead, diets increasingly consist of processed sugars, fats, and high levels of salt. Moreover, there’s a concerning trend towards sedentary lifestyles, with reduced physical activity or exercise and prolonged sitting.


Childhood obesity and poor dietary intake among children are emerging as significant concerns in the region. Weight discrimination and stigma further compound these issues, presenting substantial negative consequences for individuals struggling with obesity. The fear of facing discrimination and weight-related stigma may deter individuals from seeking medical assistance and pursuing healthy weight loss journeys. This reluctance can exacerbate health risks and create barriers to accessing essential healthcare services.


Dr. Brittney Jones, PAHO/WHO Technical Officer, Noncommunicable Diseases, Risk Factors and Mental Health indicates that “Obesity is a health condition that requires a multi-dimensional set of actions to support and sustain healthy lifestyle changes. Increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables and reducing the consumption of sugary, salty and fatty foods and beverages, and increasing physical activity are critical to achieving healthy weight and quality life.”


In light of World Obesity Day, it is crucial to raise awareness and take action to address obesity in the Caribbean. To combat obesity effectively, concerted efforts are required across various sectors:

  1. Schools:
  • Introduce more fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce sugary drinks
  • Promote physical activity and reduce screen time
  1. Communities:
  • Organize health awareness campaigns emphasizing the importance of
  • balanced diets and regular exercise
  • Take part in Let’s Move TCI
  • incorporating more fruits and vegetables into traditional dishes
  • swapping fried foods for baked or boiled foods,
  • reducing the sugar and salt in favorite recipes
  • Establish community and backyard gardens to increase accessibility to fresh, nutritious foods
  • Managing stressful life events
  • Increasing the duration of quality sleep
  • Paying attention to food labels to avoid high salt, sugar and fats in foods
  1. Workplace:
  • Introduce workplace wellness programs incorporating nutritional guidance and fitness activities
  • Encourage increased physical activity such as taking the stairs versus the elevator, introducing fitness breaks during work meetings
  • Provide resources and support for employees seeking to improve their overall health and well-being

Together, let’s work towards a healthier future for all, where nutritious food and active lifestyles are accessible and celebrated in the Caribbean and beyond. The ideal strategy for combating obesity involves collaboration among individuals, communities, governments, and various stakeholders to embrace healthier lifestyle practices. Everyone needs to take part in organizing and participating in initiatives that promote healthier cooking and dietary habits, as well as encourage active lifestyles.


Caribbean News

CHTA President Praises Jamaica’s Hurricane Preparedness, Assures Ongoing Support



KINGSTON, Jamaica– President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, has praised the strength of local and regional public-private sector partnerships, while congratulating tourism stakeholders across Jamaica for their strong level of preparedness in weathering the dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Beryl, which impacted the island this week.

“Jamaica was spared the worst of the hurricane and we have now returned to regular business operations,” said Madden-Greig, who rode out the storm at her office in Kingston. She reported that Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios opened today, while Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston will open on Friday, July 5, after minor repairs are completed.

“We have no reports of any guests being injured during the passage of the storm, and the majority of the hotels and the tourism industry in general have emerged unscathed,” Madden-Greig added.

However, she expressed concerns for the south coast of the island, where many local communities were impacted, along with several independent hotels and villa operations.

“We will be including these operators in our disaster relief efforts, particularly in the Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth area,” she noted, explaining however that she had little doubt that this resilient community will rebound in the shortest possible time.

The trade association leader was encouraged with the reports emanating from the Cayman Islands, which confirmed no major impact on the sector there. “We are thankful to God for sparing us for the most part, and we are now resolved to getting our industry back on track, while serving communities (especially those in the Grenadines) who are in dire need at this time,” said Madden-Greig.

Individuals, businesses and organizations that want to contribute to regional hurricane relief efforts may make a monetary donation at

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Caribbean News

CARICOM raising profile and priority of its Migration Policy; curbing challenges ‘a tall order’



Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer


The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is committed to work with Member States and other stakeholders to implement a “forward-thinking regional migration policy,” according to its Assistant Secretary General, Alison Drayton.

Addressing the opening of a recent three-day workshop titled “Towards a Regional Approach to a Migration Policy in the Caribbean,” in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, she said it is evident that the Region has been facing, and will continue to face, various challenges that affect the lives and livelihoods of Caribbean citizens.

“Namely, due to Climate Change, which has amplified displacements and the need for persons to migrate from areas that threaten their livelihoods or limit their opportunities to prosper and provide for their families,” the ASG told the forum, adding that the Climate Change and natural disasters remain “key drivers of displacements in the Region.”

“With the frequency and magnitude of events likely to increase in the future, this has contributed to many regional States facing demographic decline, which has impacted their workforce, our younger population seeking job opportunities outside the Region, and many key sectors being negatively impacted,” she stated.

The CARICOM official underscored that tackling the challenges would be “a tall order,” hence the Regional body’s commitment that would help address various aspects of Regional migration and human mobility as determined by Member State priorities.

Lauding the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for hosting the workshop, and the and valuable technical contributions made by the United Nations (UN) Migration Group and financial contributions from the United States Department of State, the European Union, and the Inter-American Development Bank, she said  the their efforts have been significant.

The contribution made by International Organization for Migration (IOM), has advanced the policy, with provision of consultancies to coordinate the Community’s work through the Regional Approach to Migration Policy (RAMP) Steering Committee and development of the framework, she highlighted.

For Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister, the Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds, his country is also committed to contributing to the development of a regional migration policy framework that reflects the priorities of the people of the Caribbean Community.

“As we embark on this journey together, let us harness the expertise, the insights and the experiences that we already have among us as we gather here today to shape the policy framework that is in front of us,” the Minister said, adding that the current migration realities “should prepare us for future challenges.”

The technical workshop brought together National Focal Points from the CARICOM Member States, and representatives of relevant regional and international organisations, building on IOM’s Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) assessments, and other consultations held with national Governments of CARICOM Member States in 2023.

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Caribbean News

Government Earmarks $300M for Post-Hurricane Dengue Mitigation



#Kingston, Jamaica, July 19, 2024 – The Government has earmarked $300 million to ramp up dengue mitigation activities, inclusive of fogging, treatment of mosquito breeding sites, removal of bulky waste and drain cleaning, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl.

Addressing the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 16), Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the funds have been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which will spearhead vector-control activities over the next six weeks.

He further informed that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and National Works Agency (NWA), “are technically involved in this dengue mitigation [exercise] by trying to clear the environmental conditions that would create the growth in the vector”.

Mr. Holness highlighted the potential for a significant increase in the dengue vector, the Aedes aegpyti mosquito, which breeds primarily in containers, consequent on  the hurricane’s passage.

“We know that many communities are being plagued by the increase in the mosquito population… and other vectors [such as] roaches, rats and flies. Therefore, the cleanup and removal and clearing of waterlogged areas is of critical importance,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister noted that the hot summer conditions, along with rainfall, will further contribute to heightening the possibility of an increase in these vectors and the transmission of diseases.

As such, he appealed to Jamaicans to properly store water in covered containers and destroy mosquito breeding sites around their homes.

“I urge all homeowners who are storing water and… leaving the containers open, that an easy way to control the growth of the mosquito population in your households is to cover the containers,” Mr. Holness said.

He pointed out that the NSWMA will shortly announce a schedule for the removal of bulky waste from homes.

Prime Minister Holness further indicated that the NWA will be actively cleaning various gullies.

Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, and joint and muscle pains. These are often resolved through rest and adequate hydration along with the use of paracetamol to treat the accompanying fever.


Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

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