The acting Chief Medical Officer has made yet another appeal for parents, guardians and teachers to get their charges into more physical activity, while steering them towards healthy eating habits.
Dr Kenneth George yesterday told a small group of children graduating from a healthy lifestyle workshop, and their parents present, that more than 30 per cent of Barbadian school children were overweight and about 15 per cent had become obese.
“Obese children are likely to grow into obese adults,” he said at the certification ceremony of the Barbados Childhood Obesity Prevention Programme, (BCHOPP), at the Nazarene Church in Collymore Rock.
“Eating a healthy diet and having regular physical activity can help to maintain a healthy body weight and hence prevent obesity.”
BCHOPP is a two-year-old collaboration effort between the Ministries of Health and Education, aimed at exposing primary school children to healthy foods and habits.
Dr George said that the ministries decided to select primary school children who are about to enter secondary institutions for the training annually, “because we knew that was a good group to intervene with. They are quite impressionable and they could not only change their habits, but they could also influence their parents’ habits.
“This is in the right step because obese children are more likely to become obese adults with all the issues of chronic disease.”
He said a 2012 Global Health Survey revealed that 15 per cent of Barbadian children had no fruits or vegetables in the month leading up to the study; 70 per cent drank carbonated sweet drinks once a day; and 18.5 per cent ate from fast food restaurants three or more times a week.