| VOICES Bi-Monthly Magazine of the University of Technology, Jamaica
he University of Technology, Jamaica, College of Health Sciences,
through its National Health Fund (NHF) funded Project JA-Livity
research initiative is poised to positively impact the current burden on
the health system and economy, resulting from the estimated 25% obesity
prevalence rate in Jamaica. The NHF has provided grant funding to the
tune of $14 million to UTech, Jamaica to undertake the project.
Project JA-Livity which was officially launched on Thursday, December 1,
2016 at the UTech, Jamaica Papine campus includes a Food Consumption
Survey which aims to provide estimates of both acute and usual
consumption patterns and consumption trends of the Jamaican population
at the individual level and will be conducted among Jamaican adults 18-70
years old. The other components are a health education campaign and
the establishment of two (2) wellness centres in Jamaica – one urban and
one rural, developed based on the UTech, Jamaica Wellness Centre model.
Speaking at the launch, Project Director Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle
explained that “when we conceived Project JA-Livity we were thinking
about offering up solutions to a national epidemic.” Pointing to the deep
cultural underpinnings which sway unhealthy food choices and lifestyle
practices, Dr. Campbell-Grizzle noted that the research study intends to
provide “granular information to buttress the formulation of policy and to
guide clinical decisions” that will be useful to agencies of government as
well as the private sector, which have the responsibility of planning for food
security and food production. Dr. Janet Campbell-Shelly, Acting Dean,
College of Health Sciences, in her welcome remarks, also underscored the
importance of the project, noting that evidence-based information of the
nutrition status of the population will assist Jamaica in achieving its Vision
2030 development goals.
Members of the Project team comprising Mrs. Ava Simpson, Lead
Researcher, Lecturer, College of Health Sciences, Mr Olsegun Afis Ismail,
Statistician/Head of School of Mathematics and Statistics, Faculty of
Science and Sport and Mrs. Janice Wissart, Medical Technologist/Lecturer,
College of Health Sciences provided a synopsis of the research plan for the
National Food Consumption Survey.
The National Food Consumption study will combine dietary assessment
tools, physical measurements and laboratory analyses of blood samples
to assess the nutritional status of the sample. Individual data on food
consumption using a food frequency questionnaire will be validated by the
collection of some 24-hour recalls.
Among the objectives of the study are to determine the nutritional
adequacy of Jamaican diets by comparing actual food and nutrient intake
with recommendations from the national dietary guidelines; to examine
food choices, food purchasing patterns and food sources; to determine
the prevalence of obesity/under nutrition and diagnosed nutrition-related
CNCDs and their relationship to dietary patterns and to investigate the
association between demographic, social and economic characteristics
and dietary practise.
The researchers emphasized that the survey methodology will adhere to all
ethical/consent protocols and will include written informed consent from
each participant following verbal explanation by the trained interviewer.
Data obtained on individuals will not be released or made available to the
general public. Statistical analysis will involve grouped data and presented
as such in published research articles. The public phase of the project
commenced in January 2017.
UTech, Jamaica Research set to respond to National Obesity
Epidemic with First Food Consumption Survey
L-R: Holding unto to the symbolic cheque in the amount of $14,559,291.00
presented by the National Health Fund to the College of Health Sciences (COHS),
UTech, Jamaica, are Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle, then Dean, COHSs, Mrs. Ava
Simpson, Programme Director, Dietetics & Nutrition, COHS, Mrs. Thelma Nelson,
Pharmacy Council of Jamaica and Mr. Everton Anderson, CEO, National Health
Fund. Sharing in the happy moment are Mr. Rasheed Perry, Assistant Lecturer,
(back row, 1st left) and Mr. Meredith Williams, Lecturer, School of Allied Health and