Childhood obesity advocates featured in international publication

Youth advocates from the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition are taking the importance of a healthy environment for young people to the world stage.

Thought-provoking articles from the Coalition’s first official Youth Advocacy Officer, Taahir Bulbulia, and Healthy Caribbean Coalition Advocacy Officer, Danielle Walwyn, highlighting issues around sport, youth health and fitness, were featured in the latest Journal of Commonwealth Parliamentarians ‘The Parliamentarian’.

Considering that sport and physical activity offer a solution to address Barbados’ serious healthcare crisis regarding non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Bulbulia, in ‘Commonwealth Youth Voices: The Power of Sport: Sport as a Viable Sustainable Development Tool: View From Barbados‘ emphasizes that sport has the power to positively impact people’s health and well-being through mental, physical and social benefits.

Co-authored by Racquel Griffith, the analysis called on Commonwealth countries to work together and use sport to reduce poverty, promote good health and contribute to climate action, stressing that “by sharing ideas and by implementing a national policy, people will cultivate an environment-friendly mindset. and a healthy lifestyle.

In addition, the article illustrated the power sport can play in poverty reduction through fundraising initiatives and its provision of equal employment opportunities and social mobility.

“Sport is a multi-billion dollar industry with wide popularity and wide reach, making it a viable tool when used strategically. Although poverty reduction will require more than a sector-wide approach or sectoral, sport has proven to be a valuable contributor to this fight,” said Bulbulia, a 2021 Commonwealth Youth Award nominee.

In his analysis ‘Commonwealth Youth Voices: Investing in Physical Activity and Sport for a Healthier People and Planet: The Caribbean Experience‘, Walwyn explained how regular periods of physical activity could prevent and help manage common non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancers, which are responsible for almost three quarters of deaths in the world and the majority of deaths in small island developing States. . However, she lamented that the lack of investment to support everyday sport and physical activity globally is insufficient.

Additionally, Walwyn, who has conducted research on physical activity in Antigua, highlighted the worsening impact of climate-related disasters and the COVID pandemic on the NCD epidemic, emphasizing that urgent attention and investment are needed.

“Physical activity can be part of solving the NCD crisis. Physical activity interventions encompass some of the bets bought by the World Health Organization to tackle NCDs. They include investing in public education and awareness campaigns, physical activity counseling within the primary health care system, promotion of physical activity through sports clubs, increased opportunities for active transportation through investments in accessible sidewalks, green spaces, bike paths, and strategies to support active workplaces and schools,” she emphasized.

Proud of the work produced by these two exceptional young people, Barbados Heart and Stroke Foundation Childhood Obesity Prevention Campaign Program Manager Francine Charles insisted that these are the kind of voices who need to be heard in this global fight for a healthy future.

“The health challenge of obesity and non-communicable diseases is just one of many crises facing our young people as they look to the future. That’s why their voices matter now! We have over 55 young advocates who have joined the movement to demand WHO evidence-based policies that can help reduce the growing problems of childhood obesity in Barbados and we are creating the environment for them to can make their voices heard at the national level. We commend Taahir and Danielle for leading the way and ensuring that on the world stage, no future is planned for young people without their informed, thoughtful and creative input! Charles pointed out.

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s quarterly journal, the magazine “Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments, The Parliamentarian”, contains feature articles by MPs, renowned academic experts and parliamentary staff who are written for their colleagues on issues topical issues that affect the international parliamentary community. and to share their experience and expertise across the Commonwealth.

Jacob L. Thornton