41% males, 56% females are obese in Guyana – Chronic Diseases Unit

Chronic Diseases Unit Technical Officer for Diabetes Dr Nandishaw Ramsingh

With over 50 per cent of Guyanese suffering from obesity in Guyana, glaring statistics show that women make up a higher percentage of those in this bracket when compared to males.

Technical Officer for diabetes at the Chronic Diseases Unit, Dr Nandishaw Ramsingh appeared on the Health Matters programme, where obesity was the focal topic. She revealed statistics on Guyana’s obesity standing, where over 50 percent of the population is affected.

“We do know that at least 50 per cent of our population are obese…Obesity is when there is an abnormal accumulation of fat along the abdominal tissue. That’s where you can be able to see it most. In Guyana, we have at least 41 per cent of our male population that is obese and about 56 percent of our female population,” Dr Ramsingh shared.

Signalling that obesity affects persons of all ages, the technical officer outlined that healthy habits must be cultivated from a young age.

“This is a lot and we really need to have something done. A lot of persons think that obesity is only for the old people but this actually starts from a small age. Parents have a lot to do when it comes to obesity.”

Risk factors include persons who lack physical activity, use of medications, consumption of unhealthy foods and drinks, chronic diseases, among others.

“Reach out to the Chronic Disease Unit if you need to or the nearest health centre. These are places that you can be able to seek guidance, information and any other relative issues that you may have. You can be able to talk to us. Obesity is what we need to get rid of. We need to break it down,” the healthcare professional disclosed.

The Health Ministry has been advocating strongly for health workers to engage patients on this topic. Controlling diets, incorporating different forms of exercise and other measures can put the country a step further, she explained. Another important recommendation is for persons to read labels of foods they’re using to understand the contents of what they’re consuming.

“In the future, we already have an expected number of at least $4.3 trillion behind obesity. This will cause a severe economic impact on countries around the world,” she pointed out.
A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is obese.

The World Health Organisation states that obesity, as well as its related noncommunicable diseases, are largely preventable. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice. This means enabling this as the most accessible, available and affordable choice.

At the individual level, people can limit energy intake from total fats and sugars; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and engage in regular physical activity.