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The Bahamas is ‘most obese’ country in the Caribbean

The Bahamas is the most obese country in The Caribbean, according to data from the World Population Review (WPR).

The data, which was released in March, shows that The Bahamas ranks 21st in most obese countries in the world.

Nauru, Cook Islands and Palau were the top three most obese countries in the world, according to WPR.

Asked about the country’s obesity ranking, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said, “What I can say is that it is neither something that we should be proud of nor evidence that our standard of health is very good. Whether we are number 15 or number 21 or number 30, it tells a very serious tale about the risks of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) based on diet and lack of exercise among other things. It speaks to the challenge that we have in The Bahamas.”

He added, “What we have found is certainly we have a disproportionate level of obesity and overweight among women.”

Sands said the government is trying “to make heads or tails of this demanding problem” of obesity.

“We share a disproportionate amount of NCDs and, so, to go back to the original question that you posed that is our rank in terms of obesity and overweight, it is certainly nothing for us to be proud of,” he said.

“It translates to a massive threat to our well-being and our economy.”

Sands said rising obesity numbers are the reason why the government launched its STEPS survey, which records chronic disease risk factors in The Bahamas.

He said the government is in the middle of its STEPS survey 2019 “and that would be actual data where we get an actual measurement and scientific assessment of overweight and obesity in The Bahamas”.

“We have completed the fieldwork and now we are in the process of assessing the data,” Sands said.

“[This is] the reason why we have initiated the breadbasket setup, why we have the cooking show, why we have started the Healthy Bahamas Coalition. So, there are a number of things that are happening because we recognize that we can’t fix this problem.

“We got to prevent it and that prevention is way, way more effective than interventions at end stage.”

According to a report released in 2016 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, The Bahamas led regional statistics with 69 percent of the adult population being categorized as overweight and obese.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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