Obe­sity in chil­dren be­com­ing ma­jor bur­den on coun­try

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - – J.G.

PRO­FES­SOR MARVIN Reid says that par­ents have a lot more to do in teach­ing their chil­dren about the im­por­tance of proper eat­ing habits, not­ing that there con­tin­ues to be an in­crease in the num­ber of obe­sity cases among the youth pop­u­la­tion.

Reid, direc­tor of the Trop­i­cal Metabolic Re­search In­sti­tute at the Uni­ver­sity Hospi­tal of the West Indies, who was speak­ing in ob­ser­vance of World Obe­sity Day, said that “obe­sity in chil­dren is emerg­ing as a ma­jor public-health bur­den in the coun­try”.

“The twin prob­lems of seden­tary life­styles and poor di­etary choices con­trib­ute to obe­sity is­sues in chil­dren as well. For ex­am­ple, in­ad­e­quate breast­feed­ing in early in­fancy, con­sump­tion of en­ergy-dense snacks, sugar sweet­ened drinks, and de­creased phys­i­cal, play are im­por­tant fac­tors in chil­dren be­com­ing fat. Chil­dren need to con­sume no more than about six tea­spoons of added sug­ars in their daily di­ets. A typ­i­cal 12oz soda has six tea­spoons of sug­ars,” he said.

“We do not have hard data yet, but when you look at data that emerges in the Caribbean and in Latin Amer­ica in terms of the num­ber of chil­dren record­ing cases of obe­sity, those num­bers are ac­tu­ally in­creas­ing tremen­dously, and we ex­pect and an­tic­i­pate a sim­i­lar pat­tern in Ja­maica,” he con­tin­ued.

NOT MOV­ING ENOUGH

He ad­vised that per­sons should not be com­fort­able with only be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive, but should en­sure that it is cou­pled with proper eat­ing and drink­ing habits.

“There’s a per­cep­tion that we are mov­ing, but we have to ques­tion whether or not it is enough. For ex­am­ple,

you de­cided to run 400 me­tres around the sta­dium (na­tional), and you run or walk that at your fastest pace, you are likely to burn a good num­ber of calo­ries. How­ever, after burn­ing the calo­ries, you reach for a bot­tle of [sports drink], and that bot­tle has 220 calo­ries, so there has to be a balance,” he said.

GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/ PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Yulit Gor­don, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Ja­maica Can­cer So­ci­ety, gaz­ing at the wall of hon­our ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of per­sons who bat­tled can­cer.

FILE

Obe­sity in chil­dren is said to be emerg­ing as a ma­jor public health bur­den in the coun­try.

Pro­fes­sor Marvin Reid

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