Heart Foundation of Jamaica Mass Media Campaign 'Are you drinking yourself sick?'

The NCD Alliance, together with World Heart Federation, Coalición Latinoamérica Saludable, Healthy Caribbean Coalition, World Obesity Federation and Union for International Cancer Control, wishes to underscore the importance of mass media campaigns to protect and promote public health.

We make this statement specifically in light of the news of the lawsuit brought by Wisynco Group Limited to the Heart Foundation of Jamaica regarding, 'Are you drinking yourself sick?', their campaign alerting Jamaicans to the harmful health effects of excessive sugar intake and encouraging them to consume less sugar.

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, accounting for 78.5% of mortality in Jamaica in 2015, and 70% globally. Much of the suffering from these conditions are attributable to four major and modifiable risk factors, including unhealthy diet. Unhealthy diets can specifically lead to obesity, cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among other chronic yet preventable diseases.

Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are markers of and contributors to unhealthy diets, and can lead to obesity, with childhood obesity rates in Jamaica of particular alarming concern. To reduce the contribution of sugar to unhealthy diets, the World Health Organization recommends "reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake" in both adults and children.i Jamaica's sugar intake has increased significantly in the past 15 years, and population level consumption exceeds WHO recommended limits, particularly in children.  CONTINUE TO FULL REPORT