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Obesity film premieres at BUEI

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A new documentary aims to change the way Bermudians think about eating.

Produced by Bermuda Media, Greezin sheds light on the lifestyle choices behind the island's obesity epidemic and associated health problems.

“It clearly illustrates where we are, how we got there and what we can do to change the current situation,” Leonard Gibbons, a physician at Bermuda Wellness and Outreach Centre, told The Royal Gazette after last night's premiere at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute. “It's an hour that you won't regret. It may shake you up but it will also inspire you and encourage you. One thing you can take away from it is that there's hope and it's never too late to make a change.”

Ayesha Peets Talbot, founder and physician at Ocean Rock Wellness, added: “Bermuda Media did a really good job. Some of the points they made in the documentary are going to help people to think about what they are eating and it only takes that one little thought that is going to create that ripple effect that is going to lead to the change.”

Sara McKittrick, diabetes educator with the Bermuda Diabetes Association, also praised the documentary, calling it a “great platform” to present the messages that health educators have been saying for decades and to urge people to take personal responsibility.

In pointing out that more than 70 per cent of Bermuda's adult population is overweight and that the island is spending more on healthcare per person than anywhere else in the world, the one-hour film uses statistics to highlight the dire and deadly consequences of “carrying extra weight”.

These include health complications such as Type Two diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, hypertension and osteoarthritis, as well as the psychological impact. It also notes the toll that obesity and associated complications are taking on the island's healthcare system before exploring the lifestyle choices that have led to the crisis, showcasing a culture with a trend towards high-calorie foods and drinks.

Sugar — said to be more addictive than cocaine — and its effects on the brain are also explored, as are the main sources of sugar.

But the film also offers advice, including urging the public to identify their triggers so they can be eliminated, and to practise portion control.

“It was an excellent documentary,” Jeanne Atherden, the Minister of Health and Seniors, said. “It's highlighting a number of things that we know about what's happening in Bermuda.” But she added that it is also important to inform the public about what is being done to tackle the situation, noting initiatives including $aver the Flavour and the Premier's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, as well as the emphasis placed on tackling non-communicable conditions such as diabetes in the Bermuda Health Strategy and Action Plan.

“The bottom line is we have to change lifestyle,” she said. “We have to try and change it at every level.”

The documentary, which features various local and international health professionals including Dr Gibbons, Dr Peets Talbot and Ms McKittrick, was sponsored by Colonial, Bermuda Wellness and Outreach Centre, the Department of Health, Ocean Rock Wellness, Argus, Lindo's, Butterfield and Vallis, Court House gym and Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre.

“All these companies have helped put together this documentary and they've all supported it financially,” producer Ian Coles, of Bermuda Media, explained.

He said it came about after he worked with several health professionals and it became clear “the environment in which we live does not promote healthy living”.

“We're all paying for this very unhealthy lifestyle that we're living. If there's one thing that we would like people to take away from this documentary, it's think about what you are eating.”

The documentary will be launched online on Friday and will be distributed free of charge. It will be shown on cable channel 77 on a loop on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and can also be watched on www.greezin.com or YouTube.

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Published November 30, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated November 30, 2016 at 8:04 am)

Obesity film premieres at BUEI

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