Over the past 40 years, nutrition has played a major role in the main causes of death in the region. Despite the increased availability of food for consumption, poor diets are resulting in both overnutrition (overweight and obesity) and undernutrition. Overweight/obesity are major risk factors and drivers of the non-communicable diseases (NCDs)epidemic in the Caribbean Region. The region is experiencing a nutrition transition reflected in a shift in diets away from indigenous staples (Cereals and Starchy roots, fruits and tubers); locally grown fruits, vegetables, legumes, to diets that are more processed with excessive amounts of added sugars, fats/oils and sodium, and often more alcohol. This shift is partially due to the demographic transition with a distinct rural/urban migration pattern, globalisation, urbanisation, and social determinants which has implications for life expectancy, lifestyle and health outcomes. The nutritional transition, coupled with improved health care is ultimately reflected in a reduction in undernutrition and infectious diseases and an increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, a main risk factor in NCDs, such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart diseases and some forms of cancers (an epidemiological transition). This trend has been seen since 1971.
Copyright 2021 by The Caribbean Public Health Agency