7 things you need to know about the National Food Industry Task Force

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The Ministry of Health has officially launched its National Food Industry Task Force (NFITF). This task force was established to support the response to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

NCDs, also referred to as ‘lifestyle diseases’, are a huge problem in Jamaica, evidenced by the fact that 2 out of every 3 deaths yearly are as a result of a NCD, mainly diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, stroke and certain cancers. With obesity caused by poor nutrition being a leading causative risk factor of developing a NCD, the NFITF will be engaging the Jamaican food industry in addressing the unhealthy eating habits of Jamaicans.

Here's how:

1. Food Product Reformulation

A major initiative to encourage food manufacturers to voluntarily pledge to reduce the amount of salt, sugar, saturated and trans fat in their products.

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2. Food Labeling

The food industry will ensure that all pre-packaged foods have understandable nutrition labels. This will help Jamaicans to choose a more healthy diet.

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3. Nutrition/Health Education and Promotion

A wide-ranging nutrition education program designed to highlight the dangers of unhealthy eating.

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4. Tackling Inappropriate Food Marketing

There will be monitoring of the marketing of unhealthy foods to children in schools.

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5. Healthy Government Institutions

A physical activity program for government staff will be established as well as an initiative which includes stress reduction, recipe analysis, weight management, among others.

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6. Fiscal policies in promoting health

A strategy to reduce the consumption of unhealthy foods- such as sugary beverages which have no nutritional benefits to consumers.

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7. Young child nutrition

A programme to strengthen protection, promotion and support for the optimal breastfeeding to explicitly address obesity and complementary feeding practices.  

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