Multi-sectorial approach to tackle childhood obesity 

Dr Sonia Nixon

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • Ministry of Health declares war on Childhood and Adolescent Obesity
  • National consultation on Thursday, 24 January

As the Ministry of Health declares war on Childhood and Adolescent Obesity, Senior Medical Officer Dr Sonia Nixon with responsibility for chronic diseases said the fight goes far beyond just the implementation of the School Nutrition Policy for the campaign to be effective.

“The programme has to be bigger for us to touch the tip of the iceberg of our problem. For instance, parents don’t play with their kids anymore in the yard, this form of physical activity has become minimal since every child now has a handheld mobile device and that’s fine because technology is good, but we must find a balance.”

As a result, the National Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Commission Anti Childhood Obesity consultation planning committee has organised a national consultation on Thursday, 24 January to develop a National Anti-Childhood Obesity Action Plan for Grenada. Their decision to stage such an event was prompted by alarming statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which states that rates of overweight and obesity in children age 0 to 4 years doubled from 7.4% to 14.8% between 2000 and 2010.

In 2017 the WHO brought together more than 50 member states which agreed to support the implementation plan brought before various governments which sort to reverse the ever-increasing trend of children and adolescents obesity by tackling the cause including unhealthy foods and lack of physical exercise.

Dr Nixon is advocating that children must be engaged in physical activities for 30 minutes a day coupled with a healthier diet. “Our children have to play for at least 30 minutes a day, that is what is expected so that your child can remain healthy. We know that children have been indulging in high fat and high process foods that have carbohydrates, fats, and salt base and that enhances the whole issue of weight gain.”

The commission was appointed by the cabinet to advise the Ministry of Health on policies to tackle the issue of chronic noncommunicable disease plaguing the country. And as part of their mandate, the commission will be engaging stakeholders at the National Stadium on Thursday to receive feedback in developing the action plan for Grenada.

Dr Nixon reiterated that a policy of this nature must incorporate input from as many sectors of society as possible including stakeholders from the primary health care sector, Grenada Food and Nutrition Council, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Education.

The consultation will start promptly at 8:30 am at the National Stadium Hospitality Centre and concludes at 3:30 pm.

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