In a recent recommendation The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that adults and children reduce free sugars to less than 10% of total daily energy intake. This guidance is based on research evidence for the relationship between sugar and chronic non-communicable diseases, specifically obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), cardiovascular disease as well as dental caries. Overconsumption of free sugars has been attributed largely to the availability and popularity of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs). Recent data have shown that the Caribbean region as a whole has high consumption of SSBs and Trinidad and Tobago has been singled out for having the highest daily intake in the world. The need to implement the new WHO guidance on sugar consumption is urgent given the high and apparently increasing prevalence of obesity, T2D and dental caries particularly among the nation’s children. This paper recommends that national policy for Trinidad and Tobago aimed at reducing sugar consumption, should be developed and implemented and that such policy should be based on strategies that have been shown to be effective internationally and regionally but leave ample room for locally relevant, culturally sensitive and socially acceptable innovative models of intervention.
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