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Alarm over weight of girls, women

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

Alarm over weight of girls, women

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Barbados is eighth in the world in relation to the number of females – 15 years and over – who are overweight or obese.

According to a report produced by the World Health Organisation in 2011, Barbados comes in at 63 per cent in the rankings.

Trinidad and Tobago runs a close second with 61 per cent, while Dominica and Jamaica bring up the rear with 60 and 53 per cent, respectively.

Professor Alafia Samuels, director, Chronic Disease Research Centre, at the University of West Indies Cave Hill Campus, said the situation was alarming. She was giving the inaugural lecture entitled Confront The Epidemic Of Obesity – Is Sugar The New Tobacco? in the Roy Marshall Lecture Theatre.

Data analysed in 2010 showed that 33 per cent of nine- to ten-year-olds were overweight or obese, representative of more than one per cent increase yearly.


Raised blood pressure


“The other issue with childhood obesity is that it causes raised blood pressure in children. Most children have no reason to have high blood pressure; it is a disease of adulthood, but obesity will bring on raised blood pressure in children,” she said.

While she added that obesity was the most important underlying cause of death in Barbados, she said in order to reduce the amount of sugar consumed on a daily, people needed to eat foods with a low glycaemic index.

“We break everything down into glucose, but the large starch molecules or complex carbohydrates give you a slow and extensive breakdown and therefore a slow rise in blood sugar,” she explained.

She said sugar-sweetened beverages was the leading cause of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in both adults and children. (RA)