Saturday, December 10, 2011

'Dying' to be first place: obesity in the Caribbean

Obesity in the Caribbean has taken all new heights. According to a recent report by the World Bank, obesity along with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease and cancer are threatening the increase in life expectancy in the Caribbean. Even though people are living longer than ever before, they are doing so with chronic diseases.

Research shows that there is a gender disparity of obesity in the Caribbean, where women are disproportionately more obese than men.

According to the World Bank, in the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States), Dominica is said to have the highest obesity prevalence in both men and women compared to other countries in the OECS. Data from the World Bank also indicates that unfortunately about 60% of women in St. Lucia will be obese by 2015.

According to the World Bank, the increase in the prevalence of obesity and other NCDs in the Caribbean is caused by globalization and urbanization, which has contributed to an increase in fast food consumption and less consumption of traditional, home-grown foods: fruits & vegetables. Therefore, to reverse the rates of obesity we need to consume more of our traditional home-grown foods and rely less on fast foods for nutrition. However, this is easier said than done. One of the most difficult things to do is to change someone's health behavior. The World Bank suggests establishing public policies that will improve the quality of life in the Caribbean.

What do you think should be done to decrease obesity rates in the Caribbean?

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