The government of St Lucia has announced that they will be starting a campaign aimed at banning the sale of soft drinks in schools across the island.
This is part of a global public health effort to reduce the amount of sugar consumed by children. This worldwide effort has seen many countries explore various options to reduce sugar consumption such as taxing sugar sweetened drinks, clear front-of-package labelling, restrictions on unhealthy foods in schools and hospitals, tighter regulation of marketing of unhealthy foods to children, reformulation of foods by companies to make them healthier and increasing the availability of healthy foods.
Reducing sugar consumption, particularly in children, is extremely important as most people are consuming too much sugar which is linked to weight gain and obesity which increases risk of diabetes, cancer and a number of other non-communicable diseases.
This move by St Lucia follows that of Barbados and Jamaica who have both banned the sale of soft drinks in schools. The Ministry of Health and Wellness in St Lucia has met with principals of schools to discuss the best way forward in implementing the soft drinks ban. They stressed that their intention is not to affect the success of local drinks manufacturers, but to build a healthier nation. They want to encourage children to drink more water and turn away from soft drinks and juices.
Chief Nutritionist, Lisa Hunt Mitchell said:
“Sweetened beverages are bad for the health in general, but soft drinks have added ingredients such as caffeine, phosphoric acid, and colourings that are far worse. These ingredients have very negative effects on the health.”
You can find out more about St Lucia’s Ministry of Health and Wellness here