World Obesity Day was for the first time observed in 2015 to bring more awareness and to stimulate action which would support practical solutions to help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and to reverse the obesity crisis. The day is observed on 11th October every year. This day also aims to encourage advocacy, improve policies and share experiences. The theme this year is “End Weight Stigma”. This type of stigma is one of the last types of socially accepted discrimination.
The risk for serious health conditions and disease increases in persons who have obesity compared to persons who have a healthy or normal weight. Mrs. Robinson, Director of the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit within the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services stated; “We have to be more sensitive and supportive to persons who struggle with their weight.”
The obesity epidemic is a complex problem with no simple or single solution. To help prevent obesity persons should exercise regularly, have a healthy diet and decide to make a lifestyle change and not think of being on a diet. The Health Promotion and Advocacy have implemented a number of programmes within churches, communities and schools to educate and bring awareness and assist persons to make healthier choices.
To assist and motivate persons who may be struggling with their weight, a testimonial was provided by Ms. Jacqueline Henry.
“At the end of July 2016, I noticed that I was extremely exhausted and began to experience chest and breast pains. On July 28th, I visited the doctor where a series of examinations, such as blood work and a breast ultrasound was administered. During follow-up on Tuesday, 2nd August, the doctor concluded that I was extremely obese and I needed to lose some weight in order for my body to function normally. August 3rd, I had a consultation with the therapist. I discovered that I was weighing in at 450 lbs., which was very shocking and emotional for me as I realised that I was only 50 lbs. away from 500 lbs. The following week I visited the nutritionist and this is where my journey began. At first, only my family knew of my healthy lifestyle changes. I was ashamed of how heavy I had become. On the 8th of September I had my first weigh in and discovered I had lost 17 lbs. This motivated me.”
“I began consuming healthy portions of controlled breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. I drank eight glasses of water daily and occasionally I replaced a meal with natural juices consisting of fruits and vegetables. I wanted to give up at the beginning stage. I felt restricted in the sense of food choices because I was a "sodaholic" and there were many foods that I had to eliminate but, when I began to look at this journey as a lifestyle change instead of a diet, the journey seemed easier as I wanted to live a longer life and to be comfortable in my own skin. I must thank the Lord for blessing me with the spirit of determination and dedication. The Lord has made all of this possible.”
The Minister of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services added; “Ms. Henry’s journey is a remarkable one and should be commended. Her commitment and determination have brought about success and positive results towards a healthier lifestyle. I hope that Ms. Henry’s testimony is an encouragement to all who struggle with their weight and is proof that you too can do it.”
For more information on obesity and how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, contact the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on 338 2772.