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February 2017

| 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

Wellness, COHS.