Healthy behavioral practices are critical to fighting non-communicable diseases. This was the stated view of Nurse Administrator Lisa Brathwaite – Graham, as she addressed the audience at the launch of the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention (BCOP) Coalition's initiative, Healthy Hampers.
ICBL, a champion of health and wellness, partnered with the BCOP Coalition, an association formed as an arm of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, to launch the program to distribute healthy hampers to the vulnerable in the community.
Many families were affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic. Financial challenges arose as several industries collapsed due to the restrictions implemented for the country's safety. As a result, various organizations reached out to the country's vulnerable groups and distributed care packages. While these efforts provided much-needed assistance for many, the contents were mostly processed foods. ICBL and the Coalition recognized the importance of making healthier food options available to the community during this critical time when immune systems needed to function at their best.
Brathwaite – Graham stated: “ICBL has been active in the fight against non-communicable diseases in Barbados by engaging our clients and customers in health screening and healthy behavioral practices. This initiative by the Heart and Stroke Foundation is in response to the impact of Covid-19, and we support it wholeheartedly. Covid-19 has caused the loss of jobs and challenged the financial capacity of some families. We stand by this initiative to help those who want to eat healthily but find it difficult because of financial constraints. ICBL will continue to seek effective ways to support the health and wellness of those whom we serve.”
Following the launch event, a group of volunteers, including some staff of ICBL, packed the healthy hampers and distributed them island-wide.
The Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition is an initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados (HSFB) and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC). The BCOP aims to bring together health-based and non-health civil society organizations, interest groups, and concerned individuals to advocate for the World Health Organization's evidence-based policy actions to reduce childhood obesity and NCDs in Barbados.