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Ministry to study Vincentians’ eating patterns

Ministry to study Vincentians’ eating patterns


The Ministry of Health and the Environment is hoping to study the food consumption patterns of Vincentians.{{more}}

Assistant Nutritionist Joyce Burgin told SEARCHLIGHT in order to holistically address the issue of health in St.Vincent and the Grenadines, a national food consumption survey will have to be done.

“This is supposed to show us how people are eating and why people are actually developing some of the conditions they are developing,” she said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health and The Environment show that in St.Vincent and the Grenadines chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) -diseases that cannot be spread from one individual to another -accounted for more than 50 per cent of all deaths annually between 2000 and 2006.

Burgin said the Ministry is hoping to secure funding from the European Development Fund (EDF) to finance the survey in the initial stages.

The survey, which is carded to begin in 2011 and is expected to run for a year, pending the availability of resources, will also examine lifestyle and exercise patterns among Vincentians.

Burgin disclosed that the Ministry has also developed dietary guidelines for Vincentians and has been mandated to get them into every household.

She added sessions are being held with the private and public sectors to sensitize them about the guidelines, which were launched in October 2006.

The guidelines are published in a pamphlet which uses nine pointers and simple language to explain how Vincentians can remain healthy through proper diet and exercise.

“Once you follow the dietary guidelines, you can be on your way to being healthier,” Burgin said.

The Ministry of Health and the Environment is also moving to establish protocols in keeping with international standards.

It has developed, and implemented during this month, the new world health standard growth chart that monitors the nutritional status of children zero to 59 months old.

“We were just looking at overweight and underweight. Now we are looking at other areas based on other indices,” said Burgin.

She explained that the Ministry will now use other indicators to assess the growth and development of children under the age of five.These indicators include children’s head circumference and body length.

“Some areas were not being monitored as efficiently as they should [have been],” said Burgin.

“Height and weight alone do not give you a total indication of where the child may be,” she further stated.