Eat healthy, stay healthy
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CTA. 2005. Eat healthy, stay healthy. Rural Radio Resource Pack 2005. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57141
Diet problems in Grenada after Hurricane Ivan, the need for long-term education on healthy eating, and an integrated approach from government.
Eat healthy, stay healthy Suggested introduction: We often hear about the importance of having a balanced diet, but what does this mean in practice? To answer that question, a nutritionist may talk about the six basic food groups, and the need to eat the right amount of food from each group on a daily basis. For three of the groups - cereals, fruit, and vegetables - we are encouraged to eat larger amounts. For the other three groups - meat and other protein sources, fats and oils, and dairy products - we should eat smaller amounts - although they are still a very important part of a healthy diet. However, this notion of a healthy diet is not widely understood, and in many countries will conflict, sometimes with traditional diets, and sometimes simply with what foods are available. This can be particularly true when a country is hit by a natural disaster. Susanna Thorp found out more about the difficulty of achieving a balanced diet at a recent conference on food and nutrition security in Belize. Speaking first to Betty Findlay, Executive Secretary for the Food and Nutrition Council in Grenada and Lydia Brown, a nutritionist at the Grenadian Ministry of Health, she asked how difficult it was for people in that country to achieve a healthy, balanced diet. IN: ?At this point in time after Hurricane Ivan..? OUT: ? we are going to lose everything.? DUR?N 4?37? Back announcement: Kalawatie Gookol from Trinidad and Tobago stressing the importance of healthy eating for a healthy nation. Transcript Findlay At this point in time after Hurricane Ivan it is quite a challenge because the majority of the agricultural sector has been destroyed. Our ability to provide food for our people, and not only food, but food that will provide the needed nutrients for improved health, that is the challenge we have now. Also in regard to that because so many trees have fallen the problem of clearing the land is posing a big, big challenge. And then, being able to source plants, seedlings and plant, those are some big challenges for us at this time. Thorp So there are two separate issues, there is the food availability and accessibility and then also you have got then the nutritional side of things as well. Lydia how do you see that as the main problems there? Brown Well it comes back to us putting agriculture and nutrition together because what we have seen is a vast increase in the level of uncontrolled diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension. Because people especially after the hurricane had to resort to a lot of processed foods and canned goods and things that are not usually promoted for these disease states. And so we have seen a lot of hospitalisations, a lot of illnesses coming about, I think, as an after effect of that incident. NARR With poor diet leading to high rates of illness in Grenada, I asked Lydia what could be done to promote healthy eating. Brown Well I think that behaviour change is a major part of wellness. And in the Caribbean we have a mindset that this is the way we did things 20-50 years ago and this is the way my grandmother did it and this is the way I?m going to do it. And so I think it?s really going to take us a few years to come, but it has to be chronic education. Chronic education and us giving the same message. The same message coming from all the professional people, including the doctors. Because that is where a lot of misinformation, especially on nutrition comes from, and Caribbean people, especially people in Grenada, they listen to the doctor. Whatever the doctor says is gospel. So it is important for us as nutrition professionals to educate not only the people but to educate other professionals so that they are giving the same message that we are giving. And hopefully in a few years from now, we will be able to see a reduction in some of the chronic diseases and some of the low birth weights and things like that. NARR Kay Gookol is the Chief Nutritionist for the Ministry of Health in Trinidad and Tobago. She also feels that better communication about healthy eating is essential, but achieving this will require a joint effort by several government departments. Gookol Personally I feel that a lot of work needs to be done in nutrition. Because if you go out into the rural areas in Trinidad and Tobago people know very little. And we need a lot more teaching of people, a lot more educational programmes to be held throughout the country, both Trinidad and Tobago. Because people hardly really know what are the basic six food groups and how to eat a well balanced meal to help them on a daily basis. And the big thing today is eat healthy and stay healthy. So we need to promote that and if we can?t we are losing the whole thing. Thorp Do you think that agriculture and nutrition are integrated enough or do you think there is a lot more? Gookol No, no I do not think we are integrated enough. I think also we should incorporate the Ministry of Education because within the Ministry of Education we have the school nutrition programmes, and children should be taught from pre-kindergarten level to eat healthy. So they need to be incorporated, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health. And I think if we do that and we try to promote it, we will be able to help a lot more. NARR But, I asked her, what can nutrition experts like herself do in order to have an impact on policy makers and achieve significant change at a national level? Gookol The thing is it goes right back; are we meeting the people that we should meet to get all these things going? We can put everything in black and white on paper there and if we don?t meet the people at that level we are losing everything. And I think that is what is happening, we are losing the nation. Because if you look our children?s eating habits, it is really, really bad. And if we don?t have a healthy nation we are going to lose everything. End of track.