HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said there is a significant increase in children who are obese and overweight. In a ten year-span, he said, there had been a overwhelming increase in obesity among children.
“Between 1999 and 2009, there was a 400 per cent increase in overweight/obese children in TT,” Deyalsingh said, adding that not much had changed in the years that followed. He was speaking at the launch of International Day of Yoga at the Trinidad Hilton on Wednesday evening.
These increased numbers, Deyalsingh said, are attributable to physical inactivity, decreased consumption of healthy foods and eating sugary, unhealthy foods which are filled with trans fats and cholesterol. “As Minister of Health I have taken a keen interest in non-communicable diseases, due to these alarming statistics,” Deyalsingh said.
The ministry, he said, has taken steps aimed at reducing the risk factors which contribute to the development of non-communicable diseases. Unfortunately, he said, TT is the epicentre for non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes, in the region.
“As the fourth-ranked nation for diabetes globally, we are facing a public health crisis,” Deyalsingh said. He endorsed an eight-day Yoga Fest launched by the Indian High Commissioner, saying his ministry recognises the benefits of this traditional practice.
“I am sure that yoga aficionados will unanimously agree that even the most simple yoga exercises, once correctly done, leave them invigorated and ready for a productive day’s work,” he said. The fact remains, he said, that the combination of reduced activity and increased stress can lead to development of anxiety and non-communicable diseases. He encouraged people to re-energise their lives and take part in the activities marking the International Day of Yoga on June 21 and being co-ordinated by the High Commissioner of India, Biswadip Dey.