Jamaica to ban sugary drinks from schools

Sugary drinks ban

The Jamaican government says from January 2019, sugary drinks will be restricted in schools.

“By sugary drinks, we mean beverages that contain sugar or syrup that is added by the manufacturer …. It does not include, Mr Speaker, 100 per cent juice or unsweetened milk,” Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton told the House of Representatives.

Reducing obesity

Tufton, who was making his contribution to the sectoral debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, said the policy to restrict certain types of sugary drinks in schools is part of efforts to reduce obesity.

“Approximately 70 per cent of Jamaican children consume one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day. The prevalence of obesity in adolescents 13 to 15 years increased by 68 per cent and doubled in boys over the past seven years,” he added.

Tufton told parliament that the ministries of Education and Health are to engage manufacturers and distributors to outline the policy guidelines ahead of implementation.

Compliments Jamaica Moves initiative

The Health Minister said the proposed ban on sugary drinks would also apply to public healthcare institutions and forms part of the government’s strategy to overhaul nutrition in schools. “The school standards will focus not just on sugar, but on reducing the intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium and sugar and increasing vegetable and fruit consumption,” he said, adding that the  policy is designed to complement the Jamaica Moves in Schools program to be rolled out soon.

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