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Bajans diet unhealthy, says PAHO official

A top official of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is urging Barbadians to make the country the first trans fat-free nation in the region.

PAHO’S Caribbean Programme Coordinator Dr Godfrey Xuereb recommended this as part of a healthy lifestyle programme which should include exercise and a reduction in sugar use.

In an address this morning at the opening of the Week of Excellence Seminar on Developing a National Policy on Wellness at Solidarity House, Dr Xuereb said the Barbadian diet had become increasing unhealthy over the past 20 years because of the addition of trans fat and the high sugar content.

“A diet that has an excessive amount of sugars and fats; a diet that makes the Barbadian population one of the most obese in the world; a diet that is killing us, that is leading to suffering through the disabilities of NCDs [non communicable diseases]; a diet that has moved from foods that are unprocessed and freshly made to one that has a high percentage of processed foods that contain trans fats and refined sugars – two components that are closely linked with NCDs,” he stressed.

The PAHO official cited statistics which show that 84 per cent of total deaths in Barbados were attributed to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and cancer. He also referred to the latest World Health Organization figures which revealed that Barbadians had a 14 per cent probability of dying between ages 30 and 70 years from these diseases.

“This means that 14 out of every 100 of the productive adult population of this country will not see their 70th birthday,” he said.

“We can easily remove trans fats from the Bajan diet. It is something that other countries have done and it is something that the food industry knows how to do,” he said.

Dr Xuereb complimented Government for imposing a tax on sugary drinks, contending that these drinks added a significant amount of empty calories to Barbadians’ diet.

He also emphasized the need for Barbadians to engage in more physical activities and suggested turning the heart of Bridgetown into a pedestrianized area to encouraging walking.

“We would see more people walking, we would reduce the pollution levels from cars thus not only giving us cleaner air to breath but also preserving the historical buildings in town that are all being affected by pollution belted out by our vehicles,” Dr Xuereb said. (AH)

13 Responses to Bajans diet unhealthy, says PAHO official

  1. Alva Hope
    Alva Hope February 24, 2016 at 7:14 am

    We can only eat what we can afford.. N soon we won’t even be eating cos the groceries escalating each nothing is healthy…..what will you say about America.. That’s where most people have now patterned their lifestyle from

  2. BaJan boy February 24, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Mr. Xureb you and your PAHO should be glad at least we have a diet. The cost of food here is so dammm astronomical we are glad to get something some days to keep us alive. Your international organizations like most just talk because they are all controlled by some of the same extremely wealthy who hoard wealth, exploit the poor and kill economies in the process making life in the entire world difficult.

  3. Ken R. Smith
    Ken R. Smith February 24, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Dr Xuereb, it would’ve been much more informative if you had done a comparison within the region, within first world countries and perhaps Asian Pacific Islands. Frankly, I’m sick and tired of these professionals trying to dictate what we should nor should not eat. The health benefits of foods within the industry are changing like the weather my good sir.

  4. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward February 24, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Barbados diabetics rate i think is one of the highest in the world for such a small country I would have to reread the article it was posted by Nation News as well. Its not the number one but rated in the top ten

  5. Sunshine Sunny Shine February 24, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Taking into consideration that the percentage of persons who can afford healthy eating in Barbados are a few, the majority who would love to eat healthy to stay healthy, is not so affordable in Barbados. Cut down on sugars and trans fats could be achieved pending that quantity and affordability of healthy foods. However, many Barbadians are traditionalist and love their fry foods, packaged chips, butters, shortenings etc. The approach to change will have to be an educational one and focus on increasing and making affordable those foods that are healthy.

  6. Michael A Clarke
    Michael A Clarke February 24, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Wow took a top official of PAHO to come to that conclusion.

  7. Chari Wallin
    Chari Wallin February 24, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Yup too much white bread and macaroni pie!!! But it’s soooo good

  8. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte February 24, 2016 at 11:37 am

    lawd bajan dont like the truth

  9. dave February 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Bajans have grown very very stupid . They shut up the old people and do not want to hear them. No Respect for the elderly. Modern Bajans have eschewed all the teachings and values we used to point us in the right direction and we are FAILING in every thing: Politics ; Culture; Religion; Cricket ; Manners; Education; Public Service; Infrastructure; Telephone ; Water –you name it. Eating and drinking more than necessary and a lot of the wrong stuff too; Guns ; Marijuana ; Bulling; Wicking , Cussing ; Children in School–The Springer affair. I want to know if the men in this society have been knocked from their positions of leadership in the home, village and various work places ,. Men need to gain back their influence in the Teaching Service ; the Public Service and other areas of our society. We need Men Men Men- Real Men in Offices, making decisions and leading. Men to marry and settle down and grow the Nation in a proper fashion.

  10. Coralita February 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    The truth hurts like hell doesn’t it???

    Barbados has become one of the sickest nations in the world and like it or not bajans mostly eat for taste not for health. They like nuff fatty foods, macaroni pie with 4 cheeses all sorts of crap. They like nuff meat and if 1/2 a chicken aint on their plate the food don’t taste good. Salad is a bad word for most. They like pork with nuff fat. Children of today has been trained to eat processed foods from boxes. Bajans no longer feel the joy of using their kitchens to cook so they buy lunch everyday including Sundays. Only a small portion of the population take time to exercise. We expect to eat and drink as we like, treat our bodies any old how and be healthy. Aint gine wuk!!!

    We do nothing to help ourselves, we prefer to grow grass and flowers when we can grow a few vegetables instead or herbs to flavour our food. The government has to do everything, seems like some would like the members of parliament to come into their homes and spoon feed them. Our health is our responsibility wake up and smell the darn coffee.

    Sick and tired of hearing that healthy foods are so expensive, I beg to differ. Go to the market and buy your vegetables, eat simple foods like ground provisions, peas and the like. No need for the excess meat and processed foods. Learn to cook and retrain your pallets and you will be surprised at the difference.

  11. Vicky B February 25, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Wake up people! We have been eating unhealthy foods for far too long. We are more educated now and can make better choices about our diet. Don’t spend time lashing out at the PAHO official and his findings. Spend time finding ways to incorporate healthy eating in your diet. I agree that food is expensive, but you cannot put a cost to your health. Look closer at the precious commodities that you have at your disposal. You have land, good soil, water, plenty of sunshine, plenty of fruits. Who says a salad has to be boring?? Jazz up your greens with some fresh fruits and nuts. It’s amazing how much you can add to salad to make it tasty while remaining healthy. It’s your health, your life? YOLO!

  12. Tonia February 26, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Listen to the obituaries, you would realize that the age ranges of death are between 30-70 years of age. This affects the productive years of a country and yes Barbados is one of the top countries with DIABETES, so maybe we should be more open minded, and probably we would get to watch our great grand children grow up.

  13. Andrew Rudder February 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    As we are living in a global Village in this 21st Century i would think that all foods for human consumption be labeled as such and those not healthy labeled as such and such a mandatory practice be in place internationally. Consuming those as prescribed unhealthy would mean you are at your own risk and that would put an evaluation on your health insurance process!


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