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Beating the obesity epidemic
The response to this looming health crisis must come from all levels of society, not just government agencies. There must be a multi-pronged assault, with full co-operation from the private sector, particularly the food and beverage industry, all levels of the education system from early childhood to tertiary-level institutions, communities and families.
The news that childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions should serve as a wake-up call to the entire population. A radical shift in lifestyles and attitudes is the only way to avoid this fast-developing threat to the physical, social and economic health of T&T. The warning from Dr Anjani Sharma, a research medical officer with the Ministry of Health, that children are at risk of developing chronic non-communicable diseases (CNCDs), comes less than a year after a 2013 ranking of this country as one of the fattest in the world.
If this unhealthy trend continues, a grim future awaits, with a large percentage of the adult population afflicted with chronic conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol—both risk factors for cardiovascular diseases—as well as diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint problems and social and psychological problems. This will be a burden on the already stretched healthcare services. If more of the nation’s resources have to be spent on larger numbers of ailing citizens, there will be serious negative consequences for the economy. The response to this looming health crisis must come from all levels of society, not just government agencies. There must be a multi-pronged assault, with full co-operation from the private sector, particularly the food and beverage industry, all levels of the education system from early childhood to tertiary-level institutions, communities and families.
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