Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2023. 2:23 pm CST.
By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: World Obesity Day is observed annually on March 4.
This year’s theme is “Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity.”
The day serves to sensitize persons to the dangers of obesity and encourages practical solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity is defined by the World Health Organization as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health.”
It is usually measured by Body Mass Index (BMI) or other methods such as waist-to-hip ratios.
Childhood obesity has nearly doubled every 10 years and there are currently about 14 million children worldwide living with obesity.
Obesity affects children’s physical health and social and emotional well-being. If childhood obesity is not effectively managed, it is often carried into adolescence and adulthood.
The Healthy Caribbean Coalition has reported that 1 in every 3 children in the region is obese.
Latin America has also reported over 100 million persons that are obese.
In Belize, there is approximately 32% prevalence of obesity in adults and 7% obesity in children under 5 years.
People living with obesity are at a greater risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Other health concerns include sleep apnea, digestive and mental disorders, and poor quality of life.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness encourages healthy practices to avoid obesity including supporting and promoting exclusive breastfeeding for newborns for the first six months; reducing consumption of fried foods and sugar-sweetened beverages; reduce large portions of food and eat smaller meals and drinking more water.
You are also encouraged to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables most days of the week and engage in at least 30-45 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
The ministry believes that Belize can make a difference in combating this major public health challenge with united effort, inter-sectoral collaboration and support.
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