THE Wife of President Anthony Carmona, Reema Carmona, yesterday called on parents to address the scourge of obesity by eliminating junk food from their children’s lunch kits.
Carmona delivered the feature address at the opening of the 23rd symposium of the Diabetes Association at the University of Trinidad and Tobago Campus in Tarouba, near San Fernando.
Carmona said: “A fit Trinidad and Tobago will be a happy and productive nation that can take its rightful place in the family of nations. The primary school and the hosts of communities must be our first target to effecting radically different lifestyle changes that are so urgently needed as a countermeasure, not only to reduce the prevalence, but also postpone the onset of diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Obesity is too rampant, especially in the primary and secondary schools and we as a nation must address this anathema by the elimination of junk foods in the school lunch kit.”
She said Trinidad and Tobago with a population of just over 1.3 million had more than 175,000 citizens suffering from diabetes, and this was the second most common cause of death in the country.
She said that Trinidad and Tobago was recently reported to have the third most obese population.
“More than 415 non-traumatic lower limb amputations occur in people with diabetes almost every year. Foot problems account for approximately 14 per cent admission and 29 per cent of bed occupancy at public hospitals. Fifty per cent of persons who have lower limb amputations go into depression and 20 per cent died within two years. Diabetes impairs the productive capacity of those afflicted and constitutes a high financial drain on the health sector especially the health institutions,” she said.
She said community development and enhancement programmes could serve to reduce obesity, encourage sports and physical fitness.
“I am pleased to see that there is a national effort to rehabilitate and modernise sporting facilities nationwide. It will inculcate, develop and increase the love of sport and physical exercise.”