Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s new campaign focuses on the critical role of parents in preventing childhood obesity

Heart Foundation of Jamaica’s new campaign focuses on the critical role of parents in preventing childhood obesity

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) and the Ministry of Health, Jamaica Moves  with technical support from Vital Strategies launched its second obesity prevention campaign today (February 13, 2018) at the Spanish Court Hotel. Entitled “Dad Knows Best”, the new campaign shows the important role parents play in ensuring their children develop healthy habits. The campaign is part of the HFJ’s Global Health Advocacy Project to tackle issues concerning obesity in Jamaica.

The campaign is designed to increase awareness of the harms of sugary drinks to children and prompt parents and guardians to purchase healthier options for themselves and their children. The “Dad Knows Best” campaign will run on TV, radio, print, billboards and social media.


At today’s event, a panel of experts from different agencies provided strong evidence on the dangers of children consuming too many sugary drinks and possible solutions to the problem.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Report of the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, obesity rates have become more prevalent among children over the last four decades, with figures moving from 32 million in 1990 to 42 million in 2016. WHO states that the majority of overweight children live in developing countries, where the rate of increase is 31% higher than in developed countries. 

If current trends continue, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children globally may increase to 70 million by 2025.


Research indicates a rapid and alarming increase in obesity amongst our children. The World Health Organization’s Global School-Based Student Health Survey (GSHS), Jamaica 2017, found that obesity rates in boys have almost doubled since 2010, from 5.3% to 10.3% (a 94% increase). The girls are not far behind with obesity rates increasing from 6.7% to 9.9% (47% increase). The 2017 survey also found that 69.9% of children aged 13-15 consume carbonated soft drinks one or more times per day. 

Children who consume this amount of sugary drinks increase their odds of being overweight by 50%. Continuous consumption of this amount of sugary drinks will not only increase a child’s chance of being overweight, but also exposes them to various health problems such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. 


It is against this background why the Heart Foundation of Jamaica and the Ministry of Health are accelerating efforts to help us all recognize the harm in consuming too many sugary drinks, especially among children.


Jamaicans are being encouraged to follow the campaign at @heartfoundationja, @themohgovjm and @jamaica_moves, where they can learn how to reduce added sugar in their diet. In addition,  Jamaicans can use the hashtags #AreYouDrinkingYourselfSick and #LessSugarMoreLife to support the campaign via social media.  

The “Dad Knows Best” campaign was reproduced with permission from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.