By Aabigayle McIntosh
Health experts in Antigua and Barbuda are warning about the alarming statistic that one in three children in the country is struggling with overweight or obesity.
Dr. Georgette Meade, co-founder of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Antigua and Barbuda, is leading the charge for decisive action to combat this growing concern, which can potentially escalate into a significant public health crisis.
Dr. Meade emphasizes the urgency of implementing effective policies as quickly as possible to ensure a lasting impact.
“Our first thought was at the school because that’s where our children spend most of the day and if we already have this in their mindset to avoid the sweet at home, we can have them choose something less sweet,” Dr Meade said.
She said any approach to tackle the issue has to be done on a wider scale with the involvement of everyone.
The foundation has also partnered with APUA Inet, the Antigua and Barbuda Diabetes Association, and other agencies to use a series of Public Service Announcements (PSA) to promote ways in which childhood obesity can be handled.
The recommendation to parents is to reduce screen time, promote daily physical activity, and increase access to healthy food.
Research shows that childhood obesity exceeds 10% in 7 of 11 CARICOM countries with data.
Obesity in childhood is linked to high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and low self-esteem.