Barbados could follow in the footsteps of Trinidad and Tobago in banning the sale and promotion of sweet drinks at schools across the island, Barbados Today has reported.
The Trinidad ban is due to take effect on April 1.
Barbados Minister of Health John Boyce told a consultation on healthy eating that he had asked officers in his ministry to draw up a set of policy options – to include a ban on sweetened drinks – for consideration by Cabinet.
“I am especially concerned about children and what is available to them on a daily basis in schools and its environs. Among these [policy options] will be consideration regarding the marketing of unhealthy foods to children while they’re at school. Consideration will be given to a ban on the sale or promotion of sweetened beverages on the premises of our schools,” Boyce said.
The ban is being contemplated in the wake of the introduction of a ten per cent tax on sweetened drinks in 2015, a levy that could be doubled, the minister said.
“I’ve been advised that increasing this tax to 20 per cent – and this is one of the suggestions that’s coming from the public – would be more beneficial to realizing the objectives of reducing demand,” he stated.
Boyce had last month pointed to the 2012 Global School Health Survey, which indicated that 32 per cent of students aged 13 -15 were obese, 14.4 per cent were overweight, and less than 30 per cent had been engaging in the daily recommended amount of physical activity.
He also revealed at the time that 70 per cent drank carbonated drinks at least once a day and nearly one in five (18 per cent) ate fast food three or more days weekly.