(BVI NEWS) – Amid reports that St. Lucia is seeking to ban the sale of soft drinks in schools, the call is being made for similar measures to be implemented locally.
“I heard it on the radio this morning and I said immediately to myself that we need to get on that bandwagon,” said Gabrielle Hoyte, Clinical Dietician based in the territory.
“We need to really consider this for us because it is a big deal for us in the BVI. Diabetes, high blood pressure; those are our number one chronic diseases and it starts from very young.”
The dietician added that the ban should not just be limited to school compounds, but also to vending areas in close proximity to school campuses.
“But I think a ban on campus would be a safe place to start, because if you don’t have access to it then it helps. We can consider it and we could probably tweak it to better suit us,” she said
President of the BVI Diabetes association Jean Vanterpool shares similar views.
“I think that would be a step in the right direction. So I would support legislation…I can’t say we must ban it [altogether], but I would support it in the schools for sure.”
This is not the first time the call is being made for something to be done about unhealthy foods in general entering the public school system.
Health Minister, Ronnie Skelton has in the past called for such foods to be banned from public schools, while pointing out that non-communicable disease in the territory is at an alarming rate.