Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) remain leading causes of mortality, morbidity and disability in the Caribbean. Three conditions, namely high blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar levels and overweight and obesity, are the main drivers of this disease burden in the region. This crisis is being further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, as persons living with NCDs (PLWNCDs) face a greater risk of becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19.
High blood pressure, high fasting blood sugar levels and overweight and obesity are closely linked to unhealthy diets, and an excessive intake of sugars, total fats, saturated fats, trans fats and sodium. In turn, the excessive intake of these “critical nutrients” of public health concern, is largely driven by the widespread availability, affordability and promotion of processed and ultra-processed food products with unhealthy nutritional profiles.