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Obesity is no longer only a problem in developed countries but is now a critical issue for developing countries, including Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) member states, especially since this disease is affecting a significant number of children.

The Caribbean has some of the highest rates of overweight and obesity in the Americas with adults ranging from 18.9% in Antigua and Barbuda to 31.6% in the Bahamas,

This year the Caribbean and the World will commemorate World Obesity Day on Friday, March 4under the theme “Every Body, Needs Everybody”.

And, on Thursday, CARPHA said:

“Alarmingly, overweight and obesity prevalence levels in children aged 5-9 years in CARICOM countries are increasing, and highest in the Bahamas at 39.5% and lowest in St Lucia at 26.1%.

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“The prevalence of obesity in Caribbean children is two to three times higher than the World. With the obesity epidemic in children and adolescents, the future seen through the risk factor lens for non- communicable diseases (NCDs) looks dismal, as these young persons will be the future working generation but living with higher rates of NCDs.”

CARPHA said that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of persons with obesity, and other NCDs.  

“It is not yet clear why there is a link between COVID-19 and obesity, however, an increased susceptibility to respiratory problems, inflammation, and immunological disturbances in people living with obesity may all be contributing factors. Obesity also has a number of NCD co-morbidities such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease which have also been shown to increase risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.”

Obesity is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental factors and behavioural factors, such as physical inactivity and unhealthy diet. 

However, the obesogenic environment, which is usually driven by factors outside of the individual’s control, makes the healthy choice the difficult choice to take.

Persons with obesity also face stigma and discrimination due to their weight that can lead to poor emotional well-being, and low self-esteem.

“Realising that a whole of society approach is necessary to reduce the burden of obesity and diet related NCDs, CARPHA continues to support its member states and collaborate with regional and international organisations in an effort to minimize the impact of obesity in the Caribbean region. 

“Some initiatives spearheaded by CARPHA to combat childhood obesity include the Six-Point Policy Package which sets out priority areas for action on mandatory food labelling, nutritional standards and guidelines for schools, and reduction in the marketing of unhealthy foods.”

CARPHA, in collaboration with Ministries of Health and Education in Grenada and St. Lucia, implemented an intervention in schools to promote healthy environments and diets to prevent obesity and diabetes. 

“Reversing the Rise in Childhood Obesity” was funded by the World Diabetes Foundation. As part of the project, a recipe book Kids Can Cook Too was developed to support sustained healthy eating behaviours of children.

“No single intervention will combat obesity. This is why ‘Every Body, Needs Everybody’,” CARPHA said.

CARPHA joins the rest of the world in commemorating “World Obesity Day” to raise awareness and encourage the “whole of society approach” where every body can work together for happier, healthier and longer lives for everybody.

The agency said Caribbean countries should recommit efforts to fighting childhood obesity by:developing, implementing or enforcing policies aimed at facilitating the consumption of healthy diets and increasing physical activity, such as, clear and simple front of packaging labeling; combatting social stigma associated with obesity; and ensuring access to care for persons who want help to maintain a healthy weight.

“Individuals can do their part by becoming more physically active by moving more and reducing the consumption of salt, fats and sugar and increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables.   CARPHA as part of its ongoing support to Member States, will continue to assist countries in developing and implementing tools to reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity, in collaboration with our development partners.

“Our children are our future and have a right to health. Let us protect it. ‘Every Body, Needs Everybody’.”

4 replies on “Obesity in CARICOM highest compared to the world — CARPHA”

  1. I am surprised to read that obesity in the Caribbean is highest in the world. Yes, I could see the problem increasing and yes, I know that our women generally are large women, but mot necessarily obese.
    Nonetheless I would like to make some proposals to help improve that situation. Recent information in the New England Journal of medicine, published about September, 2019 shows that obesity and it’s travelling partners, diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, MS, Alzheimer’s, kidney and some forms of heart failure etc are all caused by excessive intake of sugars.
    I am talking about all kinds of sugars, whether found in potatoes, fruits, breads, cakes or the sugar bowl. So that needs to be the first goal: reduce sugar intake.
    Treatment for these conditions is: frequent FASTING and diet changes, for example animal fat does NOT cause obesity. On this issue I get a lot of opposition, but I invite you to think about the largest land animals and consider how they become fat. The reactions to food by your system is the same for all land animals. That is to say that cows get fat, not from eating pork but from eating carbs, like grass, grains, fruit.
    Check out on the internet Canadian kidney specialist Dr. Jason Fung in respect to fasting, he will point you in the right direction to reverse most of these conditions and minimize others.

    1. Thank You for the eye-opening comment! I will look into your information. As many of us have been witnessing all the FAKE science being put out about the virus, even from well known peoples in SVG. It is also likely that we are getting either falsely informed or occasionally purposefully indoctrinated (as with the virus) in other health issues as well. It has been noted that in the USA there is a goal to make and keep people unhealthy or sick in order to get them forced into spending money into the Medical Industrial Complex or Big Pharma. I also lived in Germany, where that establishment generally want people to be healthy so they can work and contribute to economic growth from production rather than contribute from medical bills.
      It should also be noted that as time goes by, what is referred to as “obese” is not the same as it was 30 years ago and much different than 50 or 60 years ago. An average-weight person today would have been considered “fat” 60 years ago or maybe even in some countries today such as in Asia or Africa.

  2. Perry Lendor says:

    CARPHA has not provided a legitimate source for justifying their statement. Who? When?Where? How was the research conducted. Where was it published? I think the press should be more responsible by asking them for a credible authoritative source before publishing such incorroborable statements.

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