September deadline for schools to ban sugary drinks
Soft drinks, flavoured water and juices will be among the beverages missing from school cafeterias and canteens come September.
In a circular issued to schools on May 5, the Ministry of Education said Cabinet has taken a decision to restrict the sale or serving of sugar sweet beverages in Government and Government-assisted schools.
These include soft drinks, juice drinks, sports/energy drinks, flavoured water, tea, coffee and milk based drinks with added sugars and/or artificial sweeteners.
Only 100 percent fruit juices, low-fat milk, blended vegetables or fruit drinks with no added sugars and/or artificial sweeteners.
The Ministry advised that the changes should be done in a phased manner with all cafeterias/canteens in full compliance by September.
In January, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said from April sugary drinks would be banned from schools.
He said the high prevalence of childhood obesity led to the early onset of non-communicable diseases (NCDS), in particular, hypertension.
He said the four key strategic objectives of the plan for NCDs included multi-sectoral policies and partnerships for NCD prevention and control, NCD risk factors and protective factors, health system response to NCDs and risk factors and NCD surveillance and research.
He said the ministry was also collaborating with the Education Ministry to implement these initiatives and called for children to be drinking more water.