Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has announced that starting January 2019, sugary drinks will be restricted in schools.
Tufton, making his contribution to the sectoral debate in the House of Representatives, said the policy to restrict certain types of sugary drinks in schools is part of efforts to reduce obesity.
What is regarded as sugary drinks
This means beverages that contain sugar or syrup that is added by the manufacturer. It does not include, 100 per cent juice or unsweetened milk.
Why is this necessary
There is evidence that excess consumption of drinks with added sugar helps to generate non-communicable diseases. According to Tufton, statistics regarding Jamaican teenager is worrying.
– 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.
How will the policy be applied
The education and health ministries will engage manufacturers and distributors in the coming months to outline policy guidelines ahead of implementation.
The ban also applies to public health care institutions.
“The drink ban is nested in the Government’s strategy to overhaul nutrition in schools,” Tufton said.
Tufton said a nutrition policy is being formalised and it will govern what students consume.
“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.