The Healthy Caribbean Coalition published an excellent report on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and trade policy in the Caribbean. This briefing document discusses how trade policies affect the public’s health and what needs to be done to ensure that policies have a positive effect on the health of countries’ citizens.
The report clearly explains, with examples, how specific policies can influence our health. For example, low taxes on items like sugary drinks, alcohol, tobacco and processed foods lowers their cost enticing the public to purchase them. The consumption of these items, over time, increases our risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. The report details how policies like this in the Caribbean have had a detrimental effect with families shifting from a traditional plant-based, home-made diet to a processed, meat-based diet.
The report states that the Caribbean shockingly has the highest mortality due to NCDs in the Americas, the Caribbean has some of the highest rates of obesity and there are significant levels of tobacco use and binge drinking. There is an urgent need to address these issues and exploring trade policies is just one strategy that can be introduced to improve the public’s health.
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s report explores policies around three main areas:
- Unhealthy/healthy food
These recommendations are based on global approaches such as the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control, the WHO strategy to reduce alcohol consumption and the ICN2 Framework for Action. The HCC’s recommendations for the Caribbean are illustrated below.
This report was an excellent, comprehensive, clear and informative report that gives concrete actions that can be taken to tackle NCDs through policy changes.
You can download the report below.