Fixing our unhealthy nation


On Mondays I eagerly anticipate the column by Dr Joanne Paul.

In last Monday’s column, ‘Fat and unhealthy’, Dr Paul concluded we are ‘extremely unhealthy as a nation’, we should ‘accept how bad things are’… and ‘do something about it’. Dr Paul indicated it’s time to do something about it.

In my view, doing something about it will require a massive effort from the Ministry of Health, civil-society organisations and the media to help us as individuals to make healthier choices.

The Ministry of Health will need to give more specific emphasis to the wellness aspect of its functions.

In addition, policy measures are needed in critical areas, such as the regulation of the marketing of unhealthy food items to children and the location of the display of such items in supermarkets.

Hopefully, front-ofpackage warning labels will be introduced shortly throughout Caricom.

Civil-society organisations will need to give more attention to health promotion and organise programmes to support health initiatives, such as Caribbean Nutrition Day (June 1) and Caribbean Wellness Day (second Saturday in September; September 10 this year).

The media will need to intensify their health promotion efforts, even though impressive work is currently done through radio and television programmes, special publications and wellness magazines.

Now is the time for action by all concerned if we are to reverse the situation of being ‘extremely unhealthy as a nation’, and if we want to stop dying prematurely.

Ian Green