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One in five children obese in south

By Sandhya Santoo sandhya.santoo@trinidadexpress.com

A health study conducted by local and foreign researchers has found that one in five children in south Trinidad are overweight or obese. 

The findings are contained in a report published as a  result of work done by the Trinidad and Tobago Health Sciences Initiative, John’s Hopkins Medicine, Ministry of Health, and The University of Trinidad and Tobago. 

The aim of the study which was prompted by the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, was to fight childhood obesity through educating the public. 

Senior author of the report, Felicia Hill-Briggs, Ph.D. stated: “These are decidedly sobering findings that highlight a critical need to reverse a trend that, if uncorrected, can have far-reaching consequences for the health of this nation.” 

The research shows that some of the conditions faced by adults are in fact as a results from childhood. Obesity and early weight problems are known to be rooted with cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, metabolic disorders, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. 

These researchers stated that there have been successful treatments in dealing with childhood obesity and overweight issues, through lifestlye and behaviour-modification programmes. 

The findings are from data collected in 2012 from more than 3,300 children, age ranging from 5 to 12 years old from 14 different primary schools, within the Point Fortin and Mayaro regions. The results of the analysis showed that less than two-thirds of the children had a normal body mass index, more than one-fifth were overweight or obese and 13 per cent were underweight. The number of underweight children from the survey, can be attributed to poor nutrition, the report stated.

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