Guyana today (Tuesday), signed the ‘Childhood Obesity Prevention call to Action’ – an initiative aimed at fighting obesity and chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence and Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Karen Cummings signed the document in the presence of PAHO/WHO Guyana Representative Dr. William Adu-Krow and Sir Trevor Hassell, President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC), a release from the Ministry of Public Health stated.
Sir Trevor is also Special Envoy on NCDs for the Barbados Government and Chairman of the Barbados National NCD Commission.
According to Sir Trevor, the Childhood Obesity Prevention call to Action initiative “is a call for the entire country to pay attention to their health”.
He stressed that the NCD action is not only a health issue “but an economic issue as well”.
On the health side, 57 percent of Guyana’s adults is afflicted by some form of NCDs and of these, 70 percent of those between 35 and 60 years old is killed by the disease.
“The statistics are quite shocking”, lamented Dr Alafia Samuels some time ago.
Dr Samuels who is Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, University of the West Indies (UWI) and head of a wide-ranging evaluation of the Port of Spain Declaration observed that in the region “Our soda consumption is the highest in the world. In some countries more than 30 per cent of young people are overweight or obese. Our diabetes rates are double global rates and in some populations up to 50 per cent of us are living with high blood pressure. It is clear that we need to accelerate our response.”
The Childhood Obesity Prevention five-year plan (2017-2021) was recently released. It was developed to guide the response of Caribbean civil society to global, regional, and national recognition of the increasingly heavy burden NCDs and obese and overweight persons put on economies.
The HCC initiative is backed by funding from the regional Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and was designed to strengthen the ability of civil society organisations (CSOs); support capacity building in addressing childhood obesity prevention in four countries, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize and Jamaica; and to contribute to chronic NCDs prevention and control, with specific focus on childhood obesity programmes.