Active Research

Barbados’s Trident: A Multipronged Approach to Combatting Childhood Obesity through Advocacy, Policy, and Education

University of Toronto

The prevalence of childhood obesity among Caribbean children is much greater than the rest of the world and in Barbados 30% of children are overweight and 14% are obese. In response, Caribbean countries introduced the Port of Spain Declaration in 2007 to commit to non-communicable disease prevention and control, including guidelines for physical education and healthy meals in schools to tackle and prevent childhood obesity. Despite Barbados’ commitment to the Caribbean region’s Port of Spain declaration (2007) to reduce childhood obesity, a legal framework ensuring the presence of physical activity and nutritious meals in schools remains absent. However, community recognition of childhood obesity as a significant issue has grown and prompted the implementation of grass roots initiatives. These bottom-up community approaches have integrated sectors across society, including school administrators, religious and charitable organizations to deliver culturally sensitive methods to improve nutrition and activity levels in Barbadian children.

This case study seeks to understand how the various community-led initiatives, schools and government have contributed and interacted to prevent childhood obesity in Barbados. In addition, the study will examine how the interventions led by different sectors have affected the population’s culture, habits and actions surrounding childhood obesity prevention, specifically through nutrition and physical activity.