More than 200,000 people in Trinidad and Tobago are living with diabetes, while quarter of them don’t even know it, and about a third of children in both primary and secondary schools are juvenile diabetics or over weight says first vice president of the Diabetes association of Trinidad and Tobago, Andrew Dhanoo.
He said the epidemic is rising significantly while addressing their Health and Wellness Expo today, at the University Inn and Conference Centre, St Augustine Circular, St Augustine.
Dhanoo said whilst the Ministry of Health and Education and Minister of Health has embarked on a positive initiative to reduce the consumption of added sugar beverages within the nation’s schools, Dhanoo said more educational information was needed in the public domain to support the initiative.
“We are taking away sugar sweetened beverages from the schools but children are getting it elsewhere. They are getting it outside the schools. Education is the key and this is what the event is all about, to educate the public, the children, and the adults because education is really the key to a lifestyle change.” He continued, “You cannot just take away something from someone or tell them not to do something. You have to tell them why not to do it, and how to do it properly. Every year we have reports and we will talk about it rising, but what are we doing? DATT is trying to change the mind set, the culture of people just by educating them.”
He said education gives people empowerment and the expo was aimed not just to inform the public about diabetes but about health.
Dhanoo said the expo will give people the information they need to make them live healthier lives.
He said from September 29 to 30, the association will host an expo titled Diabetes Care - A Family Affair at the Centre of Excellence at Macoya.
At the event the association is expected to have more than 150 health exhibitors, 40 lectures together with demonstrations and special events.
“ We have special sessions geared toward the children on the Friday and we have invited children from every single school in TT. We want the children to come out We have sent more than 10,000 complementary tickets to all Schools and we are asking principals to go to their education district office to collect their tickets free of charge.” He added, “In the afternoon we are going to have a professional session for doctors and nurses for the Caribbean Diabetes update. We also will have the president of the American Diabetes Association at the event.”