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Breadbasket Review For Healthier Lifestyles

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

THE Ministry of Health is in the process of reviewing the current breadbasket food items list with the view of removing “unhealthy food” from this category and replacing them “with healthier options,” according to Health Minister Dr Duane Sands who said the initiative could drastically improve the “horrible health profiles” of Bahamians.

In an interview with The Tribune, Dr Sands said a caring government cannot say Bahamians are obese and have health challenges and then “do nothing about it.”

He said items like sugar, mayonnaise, condensed milk and corned beef are at risk of being deleted from the breadbasket list and replaced with fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Other items that are considered breadbasket are butter, cooking oil, cheese, grits and bread.

In July, Dr Sands revealed the Bahamas has the “highest incidence” of diabetes in the world and 79.2 percent of the population is obese or overweight.

He said traditionally, Bahamians eat a diet high in predominantly animal fat, sugar and salt coupled with limited physical activity.

As a result of these poor lifestyle choices, obesity and other chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs) are rampant and exhaust a significant portion of the country’s national health budget annually in providing care, medication, and rehabilitation services.

In 1971, the Bahamas established a designation for Breadbasket Food Items, which is made up of a number of selected foods under price control. Selling any items on the list above the price controlled mark-up would constitute a violation of the Price Control Act.

However, Dr Sands said foods listed in this category were not selected based on nutritional value but presumably based on the effort to maintain affordability of staple foods.

“I cannot preempt the discussions and negotiations but the overarching theme is we need to move to a point where the food that we say that everyone should be able to afford are not the foods that will kill you and they are healthier and they will reduce the likely diabetes and high blood pressure,” Dr Sands said.

“So in about two weeks we will begin discussion with the community. We want to make sure people can afford to eat healthy. The policy we will form will be informed by the evidence. If we say we will put rice, then we have to say what kind of rice and what kind of flour, we need to make healthy choices. So after the discussions we will make recommendations to change the traditional bread basket. We will push a healthier agenda that will likely reduce high blood pressure and diabetes and improve the horrible health profile of Bahamians. If we make the healthier food cheaper, Bahamians will purchase the items that are better for their health.”

Dr Sands said public discussions will begin in about two weeks.

Comments

bogart 2 weeks ago

.....and give up slam bam, fire engine well mudda tek sick. Dr Sands you are heading in the right direction but fruits and vegetables are very expensive an when you pore you feed the children with someting dat gon stick to their ribs so they dont fall out. I would like to see more walking and bicycle parks where punks, vagrants, jonsers dont be staring you down, loitering, mess with you or break into your car. Make the designated safe parks in more areas. Exercise people should not have to walk the roads dodging traffic..

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ohdrap4 2 weeks ago

No! No! not my condensed milk.

i cannot live without Clothes softener and condensed milk.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks ago

Are you trying to say that is downy goes out of business thats shall we gather at the river for you?

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DDK 2 weeks ago

Absolutely right on, Dr. Sands! Price control is an excellent tool to steer the grocery shopping habits of our people.

You don't have to completely give up fire engine and you can learn to eat healthy slam bams bogart! You will then live longer and more comfortably to enjoy your treats!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks ago

Of course if we had many more private sector jobs that pay a decent wage we would all be able to afford a healthier diet. What's being done to create and encourage the growth of well paying private sector jobs?!

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CatIslandBoy 2 weeks ago

Some of you never cease to amaze. When the topic is about health initiatives, you talk about jobs. When the topic is jobs, you talk about Minnis' weakness on immigration matters. Is this a sign of ADD?

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

Unfortunately many things are inter-connected and cannot be easily tackled and resolved as a discrete problem. Good governance of the social and economic needs of a nation is incredibly demanding because it requires simultaneously dealing with the dynamics of many related moving parts. Understanding how the parts affect each other is critical to prioritizing the key issues that need to be addressed in a meaningful way.

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birdiestrachan 2 weeks ago

Doctor Sands should stop spinning, Grown ups in a free society should know what they wish to eat. besides the Doctor is himself obese,

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Economist 2 weeks ago

Birdie, if you want to eat what you want, fine, but don't ask me to pay for your doctors bills for your high blood pressure, your heart attacks, your diabetes, and your cancer, all induced by bad eating habits.

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

Do you know the definition of obese?

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Economist 1 week, 6 days ago

It is quite apparent that Birdie does not.

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DDK 2 weeks ago

While on the issue of price control, Dr Sands, it would be helpful if Government would give some consideration to mom and pop retailers throughout the island. The constraints and inflexibility put on these merchants by your price control makes it impossible to resell price controlled items as they are already at their maximum allowed selling price when purchased from the wholesaler. A mark-up of a 50% maximum on the bread-basket items to those licensed stores would allow the shop-keepers to make some sort of profit on price controlled items to better enable them to pay their rents and high utility bills. In this way, EVERYBODY will be able to sell healthier foods to the public, including the many corner stores scattered all over Nassau and in settlements in the Family Islands - a win-win proposition!

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks ago

Ban white bread, white sugar, ramen noodles, chicken wings, corned beef, can soup, yellow cheese and condensed milk from the store shelves .............. and Bahamians will live an average of 10 years longer.

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Reality_Check 2 weeks ago

Bingo! That's precisely what needs to be done in order to help control our national healthcare costs. Most well known unhealthy foods should not even be available on grocery store shelves.

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DDK 1 week, 6 days ago

How wise, but yellow cheese??? If you mean the Irish "daisy" macaroni cheese, can we have it in moderation?

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Dawes 2 weeks ago

It's a step in the right direction, however the Government needs to think bigger then just what we eat when talking about healthier lifestyles. I used to go to Fort Charlotte for exercise and there are a number of people there. However after storms it takes weeks to months for the lights to be turned back on. Then come Christmas the lights will be taken down for use at Junkanoo and we will have to wait weeks for them to come back. For those of us who liked to run the hills, we are unable to do this now as they have a chain link fence half way down. Finally they use the park for concerts and other shows (i believe Carnival will be there) which destroys the grounds. Government should be doing all they can to encourage Bahamians to get outside and exercise but they don't appear to care.

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TalRussell 2 weeks ago

Comrades! The former PLP minister of health Nottage, might had his ways and he too was a medical doctor - but he never once threatened me with messing with my cornbread.
Search Dr. Duane’s - 'bad you foods hit list' to see if cornmeal is bad for ya sugar? I does have a craving couple slices cornbread occasionally.

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks ago

Something drastic has to be done to save obese Bahamians from themselves ....... That is why our NHI bill will soon be out of control and NIB will collapse.

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bogart 2 weeks ago

Banning food items only encourage illegal smugglling. Every year we ship back 5,000 illegal mostly Haishuns who can psy some 2,000 for passage here. We have more weapons smuggled in, we have more cocaine judging from the amounts being found. We have more officials and equipment to stop smuggling yet... We need more serious penalties.

Convenience stores provide a valuable service to many poor in the innercity and the pricing structure is unfair to them as they do not buy directly from manufacturers but from local wholesalers and have to compete with the wholesslers and chain foodstores with ecomonies of scale and best synergies. They should be able to increase prices at least to the point where a bus fare to the big store would not be opted for. Fairness should prevail.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks ago

Nice thought, but fruits are duty free. They keep inching up the prices anyway hoping you won't notice.

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks ago

Sooooooooo, is veenie sausage duty free?????? ........ but it causes cancer

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ohdrap4 2 weeks ago

fruits and fruit juices are full of , guess what, fructose, and cause diabetes and increase visceral fat.in addition, grapes and strawberries, which are often on sale, are fully contaminated with pesticides.

This discussion is fully stupid. The poor man will continue to buy mac'n'cheese and condensed milk because those prices are not going up.

Price controlled or not, he is not going to afford organic chicken anyway.

People cannot afford turkey for Christmas anymore and are now buying chickens to roast.

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ThisIsOurs 2 weeks ago

Health talk is never stupid, but as you've pointed out, people will eat the way they want to eat, UNLESS they experience a dramatic mental shift. Food is addictive. I don't like turkey, even if it was half the price of chicken I wouldn't opt to buy it.

Good on Dr Sands for attempting to do something yo address food issues

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sheeprunner12 2 weeks ago

No one is saying the obvious ......... grow your own food and stop eating GMO imports.

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TalRussell 1 week, 6 days ago

Comrade Sheeprunner12, bananas enough to feed every woman's, man's, child's and babies throughout the Bahamaland - and even some left over to export to Freeport. Thinks the surplus of hundreds of thousands nutritional bunches bananas, V. Alfred said were grown in the banana plantation fields of BAMSI?

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Reality_Check 1 week, 6 days ago

Unfortunately we have neither the population nor the soil quality necessary to do this on an economically sustainable basis.

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yari 1 week, 6 days ago

But not VAT free and shipping is expensive.

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bogart 1 week, 6 days ago

We need to have a comprehensive coordinated plan to tackle growing food. There are new actually standard techniques etc computerized timers etc and as a matter of fact Freeport once boasted aquaponic tomato farming decades ago. The Heasties had a thriving citrus farm in Andros, Levy in Eleuthera, the Mennonites are excellent farmers, Minas in Freeport, Lucayan, Shrimp farming etcetc. We had a heck of an agriculture business that seemed to have fallen to the tourism big bucks industry. BAMSI is a wonderful plan but got got bogged down in trash politics and needs to continue. Currently farmers all seem to grow the same crops of the last output was profitable and glut reduces prices. The agriculture potential is unlimited, other nations have turned deserts into farms and we can certainly do that and profit in reducong billion dollar food bill and exporting to the biggest market next door.

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 6 days ago

The Government can take $5 million and start up at least 10 chicken farms ....... $5 million and start up some corn farms ......... $5 million and start up some piggeries ...... and $5 million and start up some sheep/goat farms ....... Four industries, four islands, many jobs created and new entrepreneurs ......... That is cheaper than the Carnival investment and we can help feed ourselves. ............ As for BAMSI??????? .......... Let that become a UB experiment school.

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happyfly 1 week, 6 days ago

On one hand they are pulling the trigger on ascension to the WTO and on the other hand they are talking about Price Control. WTO means dropping duty on ALL food and going to a globally competitive capitalist market place and Price Control is something that backward authoritarian communists do (badly). C'mon FNM. Stop trying to please every damn individual in the country and focus. Instead of pandering to some ill-conceived and outdated legislation, raise the working class up so they can afford to pay for an $8 head of cauliflower at Fresh Market !

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sheeprunner12 1 week, 5 days ago

Bahamians need to learn to eat what they grow and stop cultivating foreign tastes for foods that are not native or affordable ....... eat what you grow!!!!!

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ohdrap4 1 week, 5 days ago

the only thing i can grow is mold.

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