Putting plantain on the menu: the African and Caribbean Eatwell Guide

people enjoy a family meal

Black African and Caribbean people have a higher risk of developing heart disease and some cancers. So why does health advice not include common African and Caribbean food?

Black African and Caribbean populations are at greater risk of ill health. In contrast to other racial and ethnic minorities in the UK, Black African and Caribbean populations are at a higher risk of developing hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.

Changes to people’s diet can reduce the risk of these conditions, and current visual healthy eating guidelines, such as the UK Eatwell Guide, offer a good overview of the advice. However, the UK guide is not culturally representative of the foods frequently consumed by Black African and Caribbean communities within the UK.

Diverse Britain

According to the 2011 census, Black, Black African, Black Caribbean and Black British people comprises the second largest racial and ethnic minority within the UK.

As the population continues to become increasingly ethnically diverse, public health messages and resources must resonate with a wider audience.

The need for a bespoke guide

I believe the Eatwell Guide is a general summarisation of what is considered healthy for European standards – DNA survey participant

The Diverse Nutrition Association (DNA) were aware of concerns within the Black community that because their commonly consumed cultural foods were not shown in public health resources, those foods were considered unhealthy or unimportant.

In response the DNA developed a bespoke guide. Patients are more likely to leave interventions with realistic and culturally appropriate recommendations.

African and Caribbean Eatwell Guide

> Download the African and Caribbean Eatwell Guide from The Diverse Nutrition Association website

This article is from Informed, our regular newsletter for health professionals. Sign up for Informed and a host of other resources here.