Obesity on the rise in Caribbean women

C948G7 Overweight woman

(CMC) – Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg says studies have revealed that women in the Caribbean have higher rates of obesity in terms of body mass index (BMI) compared to men.

In a message to mark World Obesity Day that was observed Thursday, she said the women also have higher rates of abdominal obesity and are likely to be three times more obese than men.”

In a recent report, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that “obesity and overweight are on the rise throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and are particularly prevalent among women and children.”

The agency says it continues to support member states and other regional organisations in efforts to minimise the impact of obesity in the Caribbean.

Several initiatives are being spearheaded by CARPHA to address overweight and obesity in the region.

These include improving food and nutrition surveillance systems, and the implementation of activities associated with its Childhood Obesity Action Plan.

“We recently unveiled our six-point policy package for healthier food environments during a [Caribbean Community – Ed.] CARICOM event at the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases.
This initiative, which is aligned with the World Health Organisation (WHO) targets for NCDs, includes mandatory food labelling, nutritional standards and guidelines for schools, and reduction in the marketing of unhealthy foods,” Oostburg added.

Under the theme “End Weight Stigma” CARPHA has urged governments, community leaders, healthcare professionals and individuals to work together to create an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle.