Non communicable diseases remain among the five leading causes of death in Barbados since 2004.
Minister of Health, John Boyce, made this disclosure while speaking at a public discussion on Childhood Obesity held under the auspices of CARPHA and the Ministry of Health at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Tuesday night.
Boyce acknowledged that there were several causes for the prevailing situation, including poor dietary choices, too little physical activity, environments that encourage weight gain and to a lesser extent genetics.
The Health Minister noted that in the Caribbean more than 50 per cent of the adult population is overweight, with about 25 per cent of adult women being obese. † Citing statistics for Barbados for the year 2007, Boyce pointed out that 74 per cent of women and 55 per cent of men were overweight or obese and about 36 per cent of women were obese. He noted that in 2011, a survey showed that Barbados was ranked at number 12 among the top 20 fattest nations of the world. The Minister of Health told his audience that the risk of childhood obesity was greater if at least one parent was obese.†
The Christ Church South MP recalled that the 2006 report of the Caribbean Commission on Health and Development had shown that Barbados at 3.9 per cent and Jamaica at 6 per cent exceeded the average global pre-school obesity rates of 3.3 per cent. Boyce went on to say that among adolescents a 2005 study of 11- 16 year old in Barbados, showed a 27 per cent prevalence of adolescent overweight which reflected the adult pattern of a somewhat higher female preponderence.
The Health Minister reminded parents that in children overweight and obesity also carries a higher risk and future ills. “Type 2 diabetes, hip and joint problems and obstructive sleep apnoea can also occur. These children may also face emotional disorders and social problems including subject to bullying, low self-esteem, poor body image depression and eating disorders. Sadly, obesity in childhood, once established often persists into adult hood and is very difficult to reverse.
“Recognising the threat †non-communicable diseases present to social well-being, government has put in place several policies and programmes to reduce the occurrence and improve the management of non-communicable diseases.
Boyce disclosed that a key plank in government’s fight with NCDs is the NDC Commission which has the mandate to develop and promote well planned strategies, emphasising an inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach for the control and approach of the diseases. (NC)