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Minister says ‘sweet drinks’ ban in schools will only succeed with national support

Image of Health and Wellness Minister, Mary Isaac [PHOTO: PhotoMike]

PRESS RELEASE – HEALTH Minister Mary Isaac says her ministry is very serious about its call for national support for its plan to ban sodas (also known here as ‘sweet drinks’ or ‘soft drinks’) and foods with excess sugar from the island’s schools.

But all the government’s efforts will come to naught, she also says, if the entire nation doesn’t support the move.

“We will need the cooperation of the entire society,” Isaac said.

The minister said her ministry wants all the stakeholders to come on board to make the initiative successful.

She explained, “Even if one person is trying to send their children with healthy foods or healthy drinks to school and other parents — or the school itself — does not support it, it is not going to work out.”

According to the Health Minister, “We are trying as best as we can to improve the health of the nation and one of the best places we can start is in our schools – primary schools, infant schools.

“If we can just get this right, then we are going to be looking at a lot of savings in terms of health care in the long run,” she said.

Minister Isaac observed that there were already high taxes on soft drinks, but added that local manufacturers are still willing to assist.

She explained, “The manufacturing sector is very willing to cooperate with us in terms of reducing the amount of sugar that they put in their soft drinks, juices and so on.

“So, we are hoping that there is going to be collaboration and cooperation from the manufacturers, instead of us having to put a law and lay a heavy hand on things.”

“We have to become more health conscious in this country,” she declared.

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