National Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica to Promote Healthy Eating

The National Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica were launched with the aim to improve nutritional well-being and food consumption as well as to provide the required nutrients to promote health and prevent chronic diseases.

Minister of Health, Dr. Fenton Ferguson said, ‘The Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica are developed in an effort to provide nutrition and health related recommendations to encourage healthy eating habits and lifestyle such as physical activity as well as to promote our own Jamaican foods, portion sizes, food groups and eating patterns in order to provide the required nutrients to promote health and prevent chronic diseases’.

Dr. Ferguson was speaking at the official launch held on Wednesday, March 25, 2015, at the Terra Nova All-Suites Hotel, Waterloo Road, Kingston 10.

Dr. Ferguson explained  that the world is grappling with a predominance of unhealthy lifestyle practices such as unhealthy diets, which may show up in individuals as raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids, obesity, and conversely food insecurity and hunger’.

‘Low and middle-income countries like Jamaica are witnessing the fastest rise in overweight in young children’, he added.

The Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Jamaica is a pictorial representation with a set of nutrition and health related recommendations intended to be used as a tool for nutrition education and behaviour change by health providers, teachers, media, students, researchers and others working directly with the public.

The Guidelines encourage individuals to; (1) eat a variety of foods from all the food groups daily, (2) eat a variety of fruits daily, (3) eat a variety of vegetables daily,  (4) include peas, beans and nuts in your daily meals, (5) reduce intake of salty and processed foods, (6) reduce intake of fats and oils, (7) reduce intake of sugary foods and drinks and (8) make physical activity a part of your daily routine.