Leaders of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom) are Saturday due to consider banning artery-clogging trans-fats, as part of a measures to fight non-communicable diseases believed to be the biggest killers in the region.
Chairman of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development (CCHD), George Alleyne, said the special summit on lifestyle diseases to be held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, would discuss New York City's decision to prohibit the use of trans-fats that cause obesity, blood circulation and heart problems.
"There are some foods which we think should not be included in our diets; the City of New York has eliminated trans-fats from all its restaurants and we are asking can the Caribbean collectively agree to do something similar," Alleyne said.
Many US-based fast-food chains operate in the Caribbean. While Alleyne ruled out banning fast-food restaurants, he said regional leaders would also focus on eating the right foods, drastically cutting back on tobacco and alcohol consumption, while at the same time increasing physical activity.
A CCHD study has found that diabetes, hypertension, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, overweight and obesity are the main causes of illnesses and deaths in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean imports at least three billion dollars US annually in food and spends more than one billion dollars US on treating non-communicable diseases.