(PRESS RELEASE) – The Ministry of Health & Wellness is embarking on a campaign to discontinue the sale of sodas on school compounds.
Sodas are considered to have disastrous effects on health. Regular consumption is linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, asthma, cavities, among others.
On the 23rd of November, 2017 the Chief Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health & Wellness, Lisa Hunt-Mitchell, hosted one of several meetings with school principals from District 5, 6 and 7 to discuss the best way forward to reduce the consumption of sodas among the youth.
Hunt-Mitchell said: “We would like to share knowledge on the negative impacts of soft-drinks, so the Ministry of Health is engaging them, consulting with them so that they can be supporting us in trying to remove the soft drinks from the schools.”
The Chief Nutritionist said the intention is not to place a hole in the pockets of the local manufactures but instead ensure a healthier nation.
She added: “We are not targeting any company because the company also produce water and we encouraging children to drink more water than juices or soft drinks. Now people may wonder why we are targeting or focusing on soft drinks, sweeten beverages are bad for health but the issue with soft drinks is that soft drinks have ingredients that are far worse than what is in juice drinks. The ingredients such as caffeine, phosphoric acid, the preservatives, the colouring, all these ingredients have very negative effects on health and this is why we are targeting soft drinks we are focusing rather on soft drinks because of the negative impacts on health, its far worse than what the juice drinks would do. ”
Mitchell added that Saint Lucia won’t be the first or the last to implement the policy to band sodas on school compounds.
“There are many countries that have actually ban soft drinks from schools. Barbados have done it, also Trinidad recently ban soft drinks and also sweeten drinks from schools, you have schools in America in the bigger countries and so we are not only following a trend this is because we aware of the negative impacts that soft drinks have on health.”
Meanwhile, Acting Principal at Plain View Combined, Ella Tomas-John, said she believe that the aforementioned policy should have been implemented sooner rather than later.
Tomas-John explained: “I think it should have been done a long time ago so that by now we would have reduced on the amount of behavioural problems that we are having since I learnt that it is related to the sugars in the soft drinks as well as the health of our children, the number of children who are obese because they consume all this sugar and yet they do not engage in physical behaviour as before. Most children have their iPad or their phones that they play with although they are at play but they not physically running about and doing the things that they use to do before.”
The fundamental principle of the Ministry of Health Wellness is to curb the detrimental health effects sodas may have on future generations.