A good concept, but poor target

January 18, 2013 | By | Filed Under Letters 

DEAR SIR,
Your Monday 14th January sports edition carried a story on a secondary school football competition of which the sponsors are K&S and the Beharry Company.
There was also a photograph of three secondary school students dressed in football jerseys with the logo and words of Chico sweets which are manufactured by the Beharry Company.
I found this photograph and partnership disturbing. The increasing direct marketing to school age children, in their schools, is of concern to consumers and children advocates globally. Many schools have limited financial budgets and supplement these by allowing corporations into schools through many direct and indirect methods.
The lack of basic necessities in many schools including sporting gear results in school administrators partnering with corporations. However, there must be some considerations for the health and well being of the children who are the target of these marketing partnerships.
There is a global epidemic of childhood obesity and the Caribbean region is not spared. There are reports of obese preschoolers in the Caribbean.
Many companies and school administrators recognizing the alarming increase of childhood obesity have excluded high sugar and low nutritional value products and goods from marketing partnerships. There is now a focus on healthy eating and an active lifestyle, including involvement in sports. As a matter of fact, there is a charter that was signed by global corporations not to directly market these products to school age children. In Jamaica, the local distributors of Pepsi have begun to implement their commitment to that international charter by replacing all Pepsi Cola marketing with Gatorade (an energy drink) in their partnerships with Jamaican schools.
I would therefore implore the Beharry company in Guyana, the K&S (not sure who and what they are) and the school administrators in Guyana to revisit this Chico sweets partnership. Our children are already, without directing marketing in schools, consuming too many high sugars, low nutritional value foods.
School is where proper nutrition and a healthy life style should be promoted. The low nutritional value,the subsequent dental issues that may arise from the over consumption of sweets coupled with limited access to primary dental care in Guyana are matters of concern in this partnership. I would like to suggest that given Beharry’s excellent line of products this can be easily done. I am all for the Champion Chowmein secondary school football competition.
Candice Ramessar
BV, Guyana
Former Consumers
International
Caribbean
Project Coordinator

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