Nutrition worries

Blackett says a society effort is needed to help children with dietary issues

A study has unearthed information that some Barbadian children are facing nutritional challenges.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, raised that concern today while delivering the feature address at the launch of the Barbados Statistical Service/UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) at the Hilton Barbados Resort.

UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Area Representative, Khin-Sandi Lwin (left) has a word with Minister of Social Care, Steven Blackett. Inset, Director of the Barbados Statistical Service, Aubrey Browne, addresses today’s meeting. 
UNICEF Eastern Caribbean Area Representative, Khin-Sandi Lwin (left) has a word with Minister of Social Care, Steven Blackett. 

He said the survey had shown that 3.5 per cent of Barbados’ children under the age of five are moderately underweight, while 1.5 per cent are classified as severely underweight.

Additionally, he said, “less than 10 per cent of the children, about 7.7 per cent, are moderately stunted or too short for their age and 6.8 per cent are moderately wasted or too thin for their height.  About 12.2 per cent of children under age 5 are obese or over-weight.”

 “Clearly, these results suggest that Government, along with our stakeholders in the private sector, civil society and the NGO community, must collaborate and work assiduously in combating these challenges facing our children.  This must be seen as a community effort where we as a society continue to support parents, guardians and the work of the Ministries of Health and Education in the care, nutrition and nurturing of our children,” Blackett contended.

 The minister lamented that the low response of men during the pilot stage of the report meant that important information pertaining to males could not be included in the survey.

 Noting that it was critical that the module for men be included in future surveys so that comparable data for men can be obtained, Blackett encouraged Barbadian males to be more responsive to surveys like the MICS as the information collected would assist Government to cater more fully to all Barbadians.

 “Our programmes can only be successful if they are based on accurate and representative data and statistics,” he stressed.

“The information presented in the report will close some of the data gaps that currently exist in available statistics on Barbados and can also be used for reporting on our progress on some of the Millennium Development Goals . . . It will contribute to evidence-informed plans, policies and budgets specially aimed at fulfilling the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Barbados is signatory.”

The MICS is also expected to strengthen the statistical capacity of the Barbados Statistical Service and relevant stakeholders.

Women and children were surveyed on areas including: Nutrition Status, Breastfeeding, Reproductive Health, Child Development, Literacy and Education, Child Labour, Discipline, Access to Mass Media and ICT, Orphaned Children and Subjective Wellbeing.

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