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Home Forms & Submissions e-Edition Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us Dr. Kenneth Connell (centre), Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus and President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, speaks to the challenge of childhood obesity, as Professor Margaret Anne St. John (left), Consultant with the Department of Paediatrics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados; and Francine Charles, HCC Communications and Advocacy Officer, Childhood Obesity Prevention, give him a listening ear.

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dangerous LINK Thu, 06/28/2018 – 12:00am Barbados1 HCC placing the spotlight on childhood obesity By:  Regina Selman Moore “Fat kids are not cute.”

According to Dr. Kenneth Connell, Lecturer in Clinical Pharmacology at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus and President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, this is the message that needs to be driven home to persons in Barbados and across the region, who are holding on to such a myth, given cultural expectations.

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Yesterday, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) hosted a Regional Media Sensitisation session at the Distance Learning Centre at the UWI, Cave Hill Campus.

During that session, the (HCC), represented by Francine Charles, Communications and Advocacy Officer – Childhood Obesity Prevention (COP), placed special emphasis on the growing challenge of childhood obesity facing the Caribbean and its link to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, which are now responsible for six out of every ten deaths in the region.

Dr. Connell, who served as one of the panel members and who shared details on the HCC‘s Childhood Obesity Prevention Campaign and its public call to action, stressed the need to break a number of cultural myths that perpetuate the problem of childhood obesity.

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“That’s something as a region that we have to drive home, the cultural thing of fat kids. We’ve always focused on fat adults, but fat kids are also not cute and we should then start the conversation of saying what are the things that cause fat kids, the unhealthy meals, the portion sizes, the institution of certain diets as opposed to breast milk at an early stage,” Dr. Connell remarked.

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“So first we have to identify NCDs (non-communicable diseases), the risks to us as a society and the trajectory that we are on; secondly the link between NCDs and childhood obesity; and thirdly, fat isn’t cute in childhood or at any other time and we need to implement measures to address it,” he stressed.

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Professor Margaret Anne St. John, Consultant with the Department of Paediatrics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, meanwhile pointed out that childhood overweight and obesity account for the most prevalent nutritional disorder in children and adolescents in the United States and in many developing countries. Adolescent obesity disproportionally affects girls in Barbados according to a 2005 study, she said, and may be associated with a social attitude which attaches a greater importance of sports for boys as opposed to girls.

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Stressing that in Barbados chronic non-communicable diseases are reaching epidemic proportions in children, Professor St. John maintained that avoidance of these diseases should be the aim. Noting that a multi-pronged approach is needed to tackle the issue, she however recommended that parents encourage children to make wise choices and adopt the 5-4-3-2-1 rule for eating.Alberto Ardila Venezuela

“Five servings of fruits and vegetables, four cups or more of water a day and not sugary drinks, three servings of low fat, non-fat milk or dairy, two hours or less of screen time for TV or computer use, and one hour or more of physical activity,” Dr St. John recommended. (RSM)

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