by Linda Straker
- “Too Much Sugar is Bad for Health: NO ANTS IN MY CAMP” is the theme for Nutrition Week 2018
- Minister Emmalin Pierre said sugar is bad for health, and the avoidance of it can bring positive health benefits.
- School health survey showed 10% increase in obesity as children transition from primary school to secondary school
“Too Much Sugar is Bad for Health: NO ANTS IN MY CAMP” is the theme for Nutrition Week which concludes on Friday, 22 June with a call from the Grenada Food and Nutrition Council (GFNC) for Grenadians to use no or very little sugar on that day.
In her address to open the week of activities which was mainly centred around educational activities, Minister for Education Emmalin Pierre said sugar is bad for health, and the avoidance of it can bring positive health benefits. “The focus on sugar is to highlight the amount we consume, how it affects our overall health and how we can use less. To have effective changes in our use of sugar, no better place to start than with our school children. Adults play a part in purchasing and preparing food and drink with sugar,” she said.
Pointing out that almost all food items sold in schools contain sugar in one form or another, she said that the country is consuming way too much. “Research shows that excess sugar has negative effects on our health. It contributes to overweight and obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay or cavities,” she said.
Referring to results from the last school health survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and the Grenada Food and Nutrition Council, Pierre said that it showed there is a 10% increase in obesity as children transition from primary school to secondary school and over 70% of primary school children have some dental problem.
Advising that the general public become aware of the names used on labels for added sugar, Pierre said that added sugar is often labelled as corn sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates or other words ending in “-OSE” like sucrose, which is table sugar.
“We can read food labels and know what amount of sugar is in the food we purchase. We can cut back on the amount of sugar we add to food. We can cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages made at home or purchase. In so doing, we can reduce weight or prevent weight gain, manage diabetes and prevent tooth decay,” she suggested.
According to the office of the GFNC, this year’s National Nutrition Week of activities include an open to the public, grand dancercise session with area fitness clubs joining at Old Trafford; flash mobs in the Town of St George, the Crouchu Government School conducting picketing and a dancercise in St David; followed by the No Sugar Fast on Friday, 22 June.
“On this day we are asking the nation to not use sugar or sugar-sweetened beverages. All these activities aim at helping us reduce our sugar intake,” the minister explained.