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

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.

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.

3. Nutrition/Health Education and Promotion

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

4. Tackling Inappropriate Food Marketing

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

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.

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.

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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