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Seven out of ten are overweight in Bermuda

Just back from a meeting of Health Ministers in Aruba on the impact of childhood obesity, Patricia Gordon Pamplin told MPs Bermuda’s population will face chronic health issues from preventable, non-communicable diseases.

In a Ministerial statement the Health Minister said: “The proportion of children who are overweight or obese has been growing.

Ministers were asked to make a presentation on the impact of obesity and non-communicable diseases in their respective countries and “provide some insight into what was being done to combat these issues”.

“Even in countries where under nutrition is sometimes an issue, obesity has been on the rise. The percentage of adults who are over with or obese has been increasing, but more disturbingly, the proportion of children who are overweight or obese has also been growing,” said Ms Gordon Pamplin.

“This rise means that heathcare costs are also rising and putting additional strains on the economy.

“Our latest figures show that 36 percent of our adult population is overweight and 34 percent are obese.

“That’s 70 percent who are overweight or obese,” said Ms Gordon Pamplin.

The incidence of type two diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure rise in tandem with the weight of the population.

“Bermuda is no different,” she said. “The consequence is that our leading cause of death is heart disease — accounting for 41 percent of all deaths in Bermuda; our diabetes rate of at least 13 percent puts us at the top of the list of OECD countries; hypertension has gone from 25 to 36 percent in the last five years’ and the rate in adults between 18 and 34-years-old has doubled.

“Kidney failure continues to trend upwards, In fact, kidney dialysis cost this country $24 million during the last fiscal year.”

With a Health Promotion Strategy in place together with the Healthy Schools Programme she said “only time will tell if any or all of these measures will be successful”.

“But we have to do something. We have to make every effort to improve our population health because, if we don’t, we will all suffer the consequences,” said Ms Gordon Pamplin.

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) hosted the Conference on Obesity with Special Attention to Childhood Obesity, held on June 6 and 7.

Representatives from 32 countries from the Caribbean, North America, Central and South America, plus Europe attended.

The Minister made a point of noting that the organisation paid for her travel and accommodation. She was accompanied by her Permanent Secretary whose expenses were paid for by the Ministry.

She commended the PAHO for their invitation and their financial support.

“Attending meetings such as this one are not only important networking opportunities; they also offer the chance to learn about policies and programmes being implemented in other jurisdictions,” she said.

Health Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin

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Published June 15, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 15, 2013 at 1:17 am)

Seven out of ten are overweight in Bermuda

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