FOOD INDUSTRY URGED TO JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST CHILDHOOD OBESITY
The Ministry of Health is becoming increasingly concerned about “the subtle and not so subtle marketing” of unhealthy foods to children.
He has also appealed to parents not to take the easy approach but to ensure that their children were educated to appreciate the value of proper nutrition and physical activity to their development.
He revealed that according to a survey of the school-aged population in Barbados, rates of obesity and overweight were in excess of 30 per cent. The survey also noted that more than 70 per cent of students drank one or more carbonated soft drink every day, and an equal number participated in little or no physical activity
Increasingly, the Health Minister said, obese children were being diagnosed with a range of health conditions previously seen almost exclusively in adults, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, joint problems and psychosocial problems. Additionally, an obese child was more than likely to become an obese adult, with all the concomitant disease and ill-health.
“The prevention of weight gain is easier, less expensive and more effective than treating obesity…The combination of physical activity and diet is a powerful instrument in this regard, and is more effective in the promotion of the loss of body fat than either method alone,” he maintained.
While recognising the challenge of reversing entrenched lifestyle practices, the Health Minister said his Ministry was committed to turning around “this alarming trend in our children”. (JS/BGIS)