A group of inspired and talented young professionals from TEDxYouth@Bridgetown recently held a 2-day event in Barbados entitled ‘The Big Questions’. The event was attended by secondary school students from across Barbados.
One of the featured speakers was Claire Haynes who delivered a powerful presentation entitled: ‘How the Catelli Girl Got Out the Box’. The presentation focussed on the urgency of re-evaluating traditional Caribbean eating habits and shifting away from diets comprised of highly processed foods to healthier diets consisting of more natural, organically based foods.
International Conference in Health in the African Diaspora (ICHAD 2012) brings together a broad spectrum researchers, policymakers, health and development advocates, and health journalists from across the globe. Conference participants will share critical knowledge about major health challenges confronting African descendants, including chronic disease, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, mental health, healthcare access and quality, and the social determinants of health. ICHAD 2012 will have nearly 30 speakers from a dozen disciplines focusing on 14 countries, including Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, and the United States. The project will produce a book comprising conference papers and will be held July 4-8 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
As we discussed before in our earlier posts, we all have the opportunity to participate in the development of the UNAIDS Crowdsourcing strategy. This short video explains how. Perhaps a good question to ask though is why? Why should I spend the time to make a contribution?
Here are some reasons:
1. Only you know the experience you have and what you think should be done to improve the situation. Whether you work for a non profit or the government (or wherever), your insight might be valuable and actually make a difference.
2. You might learn something from others by participating in the chat.
3. You can make contact with other participants from around the world.
4. You can ensure that the unique issues the Caribbean faces are addressed.
5. You can learn how to use a new collaborative tool (Google docs) you may have never used before.
6. Show Andre Robb, the Caribbean representative on the drafting committee some support!
The carnival season just ended for many islands (and is beginning for others) and one of the things that struck me while listening to radio stations from Dominica is the number of advertisements for businesses pushing high-saturated fat foods and alcoholic drinks. Now, I have to say that these ads are not just a carnival phenomenon. In fact, I think they’ve become quite prevalent on our airwaves. For example, one show might be sponsored by a large distributor of alcoholic beverages. Usually within such shows, the hosts painstakingly tells listeners to ‘drink safely’ and ‘don’t drink and drive’. What I noticed about these messages is that they are often said in somber tones while the music pumps up for a lively discussion of how such and such drink is the best to have while out and about. In regards to the food ads with high-fat content, they are often lauded as quick meals to have on-the-go. Grab a pizza! Get yourself some tasty fired chicken!
These commercials reminded me of a fabulous blog I read a few months ago titled “Is fried chicken setting back development in the Caribbean?” In the write-up, Carmen and Shiyan discuss how, in trying to decide what to eat for lunch (fried chicken because it’s ubiquitous, low-cost and fast), they realized the irony of working on addressing non-communicable diseases in the region and having to swallow their guilt and eat the fried chicken for lunch.
Carmen and Shiyan write:
“This simple encounter brought to light the challenges countries and individuals face in addressing NCDs which as a group represent the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide –two-thirds of global deaths are the result of chronic diseases. In the Caribbean, the burden of NCDs has escalated to the point that five times as many people are dying from chronic diseases than from all other illnesses combined.”
As we in the region and organizations around the world fight to change the course of the burden of NCDs, we have to start thinking of what role, if any, does advertising play in our food and alcohol consumption choices? Are there any regional or national policies that regulate what companies can advertise and at what times? The regulation of food, alcohol ( and tobacco) is never an easy task. But, research shows that local and global policies developed to regular tobacco sales and use has had the greatest impact on lowering smoking rates. If anyone has examples of laws and policies from the region that address these issues, we at CaribbeanHealth.org would love to know about them.