Ministry of Health launches new cooking show
Hoping to positively impact the health and nutrition of Bahamians the Ministry of Health has launched a new cooking show as part of a wellness campaign to empower Bahamians with practical nutrition facts that will help them better navigate the grocery aisles and be more conscientious about food purchasing, preparation and preservation practices.
Each episode will take viewers on an enticing health discovery, exploring topics such as appropriate portion sizes, navigating nutrition labels, incorporating the revised Breadbasket contents, eating locally grown foods, starting a backyard garden, and other practical and delicious ways to prepare budget friendly, tasty family meals.
“Watcha [Cookin’] is directly geared to letting people know how they can eat regular food and have it be absolutely scrumptious,” said Dr. Duane Sands, Minister of Health. “This year the Ministry of Health in conjunction with a number of very innovative sponsors are putting on shows to teach you with ingredients you can get in the food store or from the farmer’s market at a reasonable price, to enjoy healthy eating to stay well.”
Through the show they hope to influence a shift from a monotonous to a more diverse diet by improving the nutritional literacy among Bahamians. To create a platform to reliably dispel many of the nutritional claims and myths (facts beyond the food).
Episode topics to be explored during season one include breakfast beyond grits; farm-to-table surprise; breastfeeding: making the transition; juicin’: smoothies and teas; nuttin’ but lunch: avoiding the ‘itis’; going raw; meatless or plant-based meals; mid-week hump: one pot meals; re-imagining the Bahamian Sunday dinner; Cookin’ sexy date night: a spin on the cutter special; and sugar rush: satisfying that sweet tooth.
According to the Ministry of Health, Bahamian health statistics are frightening – and lifestyle choices – the food people eat, the beverages they drink, the movements they make, and tobacco use, are the top four culprits in the non-communicable disease (NCD) war, collectively responsible for 74 percent of all deaths in the country.
Proclivity toward sweet, salty, fatty, and fried, according to health ministry officials translates to an almost 20 percent chance of a Bahamian dying prematurely from a heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, or the complications that arise from them.
The statistics show that among school-aged children, 83 percent do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables; 42 percent eat salty foods at least two times per day; 30 percent eat fast food at least three times per week and 69 percent drink one or more sugary beverages each day. They say unhealthy practices engrained in childhood become unconsciously habitual in adulthood.
Among Bahamian adults according to the health ministry statistics – 90 percent do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, 37 percent eat out more than two meals per day and 73 percent are physically inactive.
They say the poor habits have left the country with 92,493 people with diabetes; 132,741 with hypertension and over 600 with end stage renal disease. Ministry statistics pegs the annual cost for dialysis treatment at $25.5 million.
Since assuming his portfolio, Sands has taken intentional aim at the health and wellness challenges of our country and has been a vocal champion for promoting healthier lifestyle choices, and encourages Bahamians to think differently about the foods they eat and the beverages they drink.
Appreciating NCDs are preventable and controllable, the health ministry introduced the wellness campaign in the form of the television show which explores basic concepts to eat good and healthy on a budget. The show is hosted by Denielle Miller. She will offer concepts that are practical, smart, time-friendly and deliciously tempting.
The vision of the Ministry of Health is an optimal level of health and well-being of all residents of The Bahamas; “Watcha Cookin’” is aimed at ensuring this vision becomes a reality.
“Watcha Cookin’” airs on ZNS TV 13 on Thursdays at 8 p.m. with rebroadcasts on Saturdays at 1 p.m. The show also offers the viewers opportunities to participate via social media and win exciting prizes.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.
Education: Saint Augustine’s College, BA in Mass Communication