Adherence to the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines can help to reduce cases of obesity and malnutrition in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
This was the view proffered by Nutrition Officer from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Caribbean office, Mr. Israel Rios as he addressed a recent workshop here to revise, update and evaluate Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ National Food Based Dietary Guidelines. It is his hope that in the future, the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines will form the basis for health, agriculture, education and social protection policies in this country.
Chief Nutritionist, Mrs. Andrea Robin, in her welcome remarks, said that there are persons who would question their focus on the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines, however, she stressed that, “You are what you eat, and if this is so, our very health depends on what we are doing here today.”
Mrs. Robin acknowledged and commended Mses. Terry Regis and Wendy Michael, for their work on the national food based dietary guidelines from its inception. “They were the persons behind the development of the first set of dietary guidelines,” the Chief Nutritionist stated. She expressed thanks to the FAO for its assistance through funding and methodology design.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment is working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture to revise the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines. Agricultural Planner Ms. Deborah Daniel-Williams delivered remarks on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Raymond Ryan.
Speaking on behalf of the P.S., Ms. Daniel-Williams said, “traditionally, agriculture, nutrition and health sectors have operated as separate entities, but no longer. The future of agricultural development depends on fostering greater collaboration across all sectors. The importance of the Food Based Dietary Guidelines must be stressed, as it will be revised within our cultural context to incorporate locally available foods”.
FAO National correspondent, Dr. Coleen Phillips, made a passionate plea to stakeholders to take ownership of the process to revise the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines, and that all of them have a responsibility to the nation.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment, Mr. Cuthbert Knights, expressed the full support of his Ministry to revise the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines. He made a call for Vincentians to take control of their health and that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, on a whole, will be more productive.
The revision of the National Food Based Dietary Guidelines is a joint initiative among the Ministries of Health, Wellness and the Environment and Agriculture, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The workshop was held on Wednesday, 10th April 2019 at the Ministry of Health conference room.