Política

Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor Ortega ||//
MEDICAL COMMON SENSE REQUIRES WE CRACK OBESITY

There?s apparently another piece of paper lying around on the desks of hard-working Ministry of Health officials titled Draft Infant and Young Child Feeding Policy. They seem to have been working on it since 2012.

The ministry had originally taken the sensible option to have a National Breastfeeding Policy first and then move on to children?s nutrition. In fact they have been working on a Draft National Breastfeeding Policy since 1992. They have now decided to assimilate it into this new one.

Twenty six years (astounding!) of work, meetings, committees, consultants, money, time etc, all down the drain.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

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www.google.co.ve
The group that started work on the Children?s Authority began formal proceedings in 2000, although I am sure they had been holding discussions before that.

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dolarve.com
The authority became fully operational on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, so there was some hope that one day the country would see an operational Breastfeeding Policy.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

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www.entornointeligente.com
After all, a policy statement is not equivalent to setting up an authority with all its complex psycho-social ramifications and legal advice involved.

Twenty six years after it was started, the Breastfeeding Policy is discarded.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

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enlasgradas.com
Hope lingers eternal in the breasts of red blooded Trini women. Now we are beginning to look at another policy which by any ministry standard, gives them another 15 to 20 years before it can be discarded, perhaps for something called a National Nutrition Policy for All The People in T&T.

One always wonders when one sees things like this happening whether it is a case of incompetence, corruption, friendship, stupidity or a combination.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

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noticias-venezuela.com
We have been repeatedly told by two successive ministers of Health that our children and people are overweight and obesity is a real problem leading to expenditure of $6 billion in health costs annually.

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tipsfemeninos.com
Obviously measures need to be taken in a time of economic contraction.

Yet we seem unable to pass a simple Nutritional Policy that will save us millions and perhaps obviate the need for a punishing Properties Tax.

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eldiscoduro.com
One has to wonder why? What are the interests involved?

Compare our situation with the city of Amsterdam, Holland, estimated population 1.1 million.

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economiavenezuela.com
Similar to us. According to the UK Guardian, four years ago the city decided to do something about the 20 per cent of its children who were obese and in four years the number of overweight and obese children has dropped by 12 per cent.

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mundinews.com
Even more impressive, Amsterdam has done what nobody else has managed, because the biggest fall has been amongst the lowest socio-economic groups.

The programme is based on a number of decisions taken by the city, among which are three key ones: 1) promoting tap water, 2) after-school activities, and 3) refusing sponsorship to events that take money from Coca Cola, McDonalds or any fast food company.

Promoting tap water in schools (not bottled water) is tied to not bringing juice from home.

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breakingtrending.com
No juice allowed on school compounds. As expected, a lot of parents were really upset. Parents thought juice was healthy, assuming they contained fruit. The teachers told them about sugar. Initially there was opposition, now there is not and it is accepted that children drink water and not juice in school.

The city went a step further and banned birthday celebrations because it had become a competition.

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politica-venezuela.com
Somebody brought cupcakes, so another brought cupcakes and juice and then cupcakes and juice and a cake and so on.

Some schools have extended their control of food outside the compound.

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seguros-guia.com
In one case, the nearby McDonalds has agreed that a child without a parent can only buy an apple?no fries.

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www.google.com
At the same time alternative snacks are provided through a European grant: one fruit or vegetable for all children for three days a week.

The city is taking a tough line on advertising at sporting events.

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www.google.com
The city is the main sponsor of a European basketball championship in July and have said to the organiser that they can?t have Monster energy drink or Burger King as co-sponsor.

Compare that with the remarkable sight of the present minister of Health, charged with developing a national nutritional police for the children of T&T, visiting the St Joseph Government Primary School SEA class on the final day of classes last term accompanied by the Burger King brand manager in T&T.

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(See last Sunday Guardian complete with photographs.)

The same no-compromise deal is being made with the European hockey and world ice-skating championships and the city is talking to restaurants and sports facilities about selling healthier food and banning cola adverts inside stadiums it owns.

Another important part of the programme is sleep.

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www.google.com
Although it is not well known, children who sleep poorly, eat poorly, so parents are formally taught through community leaders, that if they don?t sleep their children?s hormones are messed up and they will become extra hungry.

In case anyone is interested, here are some of the policies the Amsterdam programme is using to crack obesity:

? A ban on bringing juice to schools and investment in more water fountains around the city

? Cooking classes to teach healthy varieties of ethnic dishes: pizzas with a broccoli base, kebabs with lean chicken instead of pork, honey and dates substituted for sugar

? City refusal to sponsor any event joint-funded by a fast food company

? Parents encouraged to put small children on bikes without pedals instead of wheeling them in buggies

? Focus on the first 1,000 days of a child?s life, including counselling on nutrition for pregnant women and mothers

?Families encouraged to eat dinner together

? Sports centre membership and activities subsidised for low-income families

Economic, if not medical common sense, requires we do something similar.

.

© Zenaida Claret Urbano Taylor

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