Premier worried about obesity rate in local kids

| 07/09/2016 | 67 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): Health Services Authority statistics on children entering the school system show “some worrying trends”, according to Premier Alden McLaughlin, who is the health minister. In a statement to mark Caribbean Wellness Day on Saturday, which has kids at the heart of this year’s theme, he said that 16% of four- and five-year-olds were obese and another 21% were at risk of becoming overweight. Almost twice as many boys as girls were said to already be overweight but it was an even match for the group considered ‘at risk’ in the 2015 screening results.

McLaughlin said that data from the school population indicated that there are high levels of childhood obesity in Cayman, which is a predictor for the future development of chronic non-communicable diseases — the focus of Caribbean Wellness Day.

Given the fact that these diseases are already a major problem in Cayman, as they are across the Caribbean, McLaughlin, wearing his health minister hat, said the local Public Health Department continues to work with the Child Health Task Force, a private-public partnership to help schools develop and implement comprehensive health and wellness policies.

“The objective of this project is to create a supporting environment for health and wellness in the school setting, resulting in ripple effects outwards to the home and community at large,” the premier said, as he pointed to a number of forthcoming events to try and promote child health.

Various activities include educational and karate sessions in primary schools, a stamina competition for school-aged children, and a poster display on 18 September depicting the theme “Love that Body – Kids!” at participating churches across the islands. Children will be given information on ways to take care of their bodies and the various services offered to them at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

There will also be free health screenings, including height, weight and waist measurements, as well as blood pressure readings, and a healthy lifestyle display at the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes’ Day and Family Forum Saturday on 1 October.

“I urge everyone, young and old, to take their health seriously and to develop a healthy lifestyle to avoid non-communicable diseases, many of which, I emphasise, can be prevented by adopting a nutritious, balanced diet and including regular exercise as part of our daily routine,” McLaughlin stated

Caribbean Wellness Day 2016, Cayman Islands Health Minister’s message

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Comments (67)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Gluttony and Sloth, two of this Christian nations favourite and ignored deadly sins.

  2. Anonymous says:

    They need to ban junk food in schools. Bring out a healthy schools policy and make all children bring fruit and veg for a snack instead of chips and those horrible noodles that are full of salt. It’s easy to do, you just tell the parents and the lunch ladies, no junk food allowed in school. How hard is that? They do it in other countries with ease.
    And stop buying the kids pizza, pizza pizza! That’s all they eat on field trips and heritage days etc. The teachers get lovely salads and colourful pastas and the kids get pizza and soda. It’s terrible, we are killing our kids.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bring Jamie Oliver here to sort out the school lunches!

  4. Anonymous says:

    If the government eliminated the 22% stamp tax on fresh fruits and veggies and added a higher tax to sugar type drinks; chips etc it would be revenue neutral and make fresh fruits and veggies a lot more affordable and appealling to all. This would go a long way to improving everybodies diet.

    • Annie says:

      Also if the government fired 22% of the dead wood, maybe they could recoup half of those funds and use them to help our youth. I will assume the other half will we wasted on foolishness.

  5. MM says:

    Nice, we can all see that election is right around the corner. The notices are pouring in to parents from the public schools about all the great intervention programs that are now being passed down from the Ministry of Education; and our premier himself has stepped out prompting us parents to pay better attention to our children’s unhealthy eating habits and to ensure they have adequate nutrition in their diets because of his grave concern with the obesity levels.

    CNS: The rest of this comment is posted here: Child obesity and the cost of living

  6. says:

    Humans are fruit eaters by nature. We eat to much concentrated fats/seeds which are unhealthy. Humans shouldn’t eat so much fat, let alone fat and sugar together.

    The main problem isn’t are unhealthy children, it’s actually much bigger.
    Unhealthy adults in Cayman are responsible for the health of your child. Adults know better but choose to be ignorant and turn a blind eye.

    True health is a personal empowerment choice that needs to be supported though out life.

    We have an abundance of fruits in Cayman, but we choose to eat cooked and processed foods.

    Food is a drug and Cayman has serious addicts.

    • Anonymous says:

      Humans are omnivores, we have the ability to eat anything, the old adage a little of what you fancy…serves well for most things, the emphasis is on ‘little’. It takes time and effort to prepare a balanced meal, sometimes the effort is lacking, sometimes the time, sometimes both and occasionally it’s a lack of knowledge on how to cook!

      Fruit doesn’t last long and requires replenishing frequently, again back to effort, in short an unhealthy diet is largely a choice made for the easy option.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The sad truth is that people would rather go take pills or go through surgery to fix their weight problem before they get active, exercise and make health conscious decisions regarding what they eat.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Anyone can do an exercise routine at home. Go online. Run a search on the search engine of your choice. Put in keywords for exercise routines without equipment. Voila!

    Or if you would like to watch a video on it. Go to you tube.

    If you have no internet at home, get a skipping rope.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The sad truth is that a lot of kids don’t seem to know what fruits and vegetables even look like. On two occasions I was buying produce at Kirks, once it was pears and the other time eggplant, and the young girl who was bagging the groceries asked the cashier what these things were. At least she was curious but how many other kids don’t know their fruits and veggies and consequently refuse to eat them if they are provided in schools because they don’t even know what they are!!

  10. Annie says:

    The standard of education in the public schools in depressing. And that includes health and nutrition education. Teachers try, counselors try, principals try, even politicians try. Until parents and students are educated, and held responsible for their combined behavior, little is likely to change. But no one wants to rock the boat, it just a cow down to the lowest common denominator festival. Not that any of the students know what a denominator is.

    • Anonymous says:

      The mainstream nutrition education is 2 decades behind the leading edge science. Your body needs lots of GOOD fats (including saturated) for your brain and nervous system to remain healthy and derive energy from; coconut oil is a different kid on the block,it speeds up your metabolism, goes directly to your liver from your small intestines and promotes weight loss; cholesterol is not a villain, but a protector and low vitamin D levels might be not low after all, depending on your calcium and PTH levels in your blood.
      So supplementing with vitamin D must be based on these 3 tests and always go with Vitamin A and K1 intake. Human bodies have no receptors for synthetic vitamins and pretty much all nutrition that body needs must arrive from food consumption. There are exceptions of course but they apply to older population, not children.

      I urge you to google “Vitamin D: More Is Not Better” and “B12 deficiency: a silent epidemic with serious …” – by Chris Kresser

      So be careful who do you listen to about nutrition.

      • says:

        Fat’s are not healthy in the human body. Adding more calories won’t speed up your metabolism. Fat is the most dense food on the planet.

        • Anonymous says:

          too much fat is unhealthy, but the body still needs fat in its diet. The lipids in cell membrane of all your cells are fats.

          Your brain is the most dense food on the planet

  11. Anonymous says:

    Local kids?! Kurt and Moses don’t look so healthy either Bobo!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Mr.Alden, if you really care, you would do something about it.
    But you don’t, so stop the bs.

  13. Anonymous says:

    oddly enough this island keeps opening fast food restaurants (new Burger King going up in Red Bay) yet no push from the “educated” masses for healthy organic food restaurants. There is no real way to fix the situation until we start educating the next generation that a patty isn’t breakfast. Feel bad for the poor uneducated obese children that learn their bad habits from their uneducated self propelled stomach parents.

    • Annie says:

      True true,

      But, sadly, organic is a synonym for ‘costs twice as much’. And really, a lot of these kids are from households with little or no disposable income. Let’s try to get the idea across that lean meats, veggies, fruit and whole grains are the way to go, and let’s back it up with economics.

      I still think subsidizing healthy foods in the schools is a better use of public funds than hiring more administrators to tell us why we cannot subsidize healthy foods. If just 100 students per day choose the subsidized option (@ a cost of $3.00 per student) that would cost approximately 54k per year. That is a small price to pay for prevention.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Introduce a sugar tax on regular sodas and waive import duties on healthy drinks. Half the problem would get dealt with immediately by that alone!

    • Anonymous says:

      How about not allowing any more fast food joints to open, how about not allowing them to open until 10.00 am, how about putting a tax on sugar drinks, how about the parents learning to cook their children breakfast BEFORE they leave the house in the morning.

      • Anonymous says:

        How about we don’t regulate the market. Let people be responsible for their own actions. If I want a cheeseburger at 9:00am then let me have one. Don’t punish me because other people have no self-control.

        • Anonymous says:

          Because of your selfish attitude the rest of us who do care are paying inflated health insurance costs

  15. Anonymous says:

    The cost of after school programs that will allow kids to keep fit are very expensive. Many parents can not afford them. Yes a healthy diet is important, but being active is just as important.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stop the people from the HSAs selling artificially flavored pops, candies and other sugar laced snacks yo children after school. Make the change at home and school.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes. I agree. This is a real hypocracy and shame kids are sold this crap EVERY day after school!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Lower the import duties on healthy food, increase the duties on junk food, but no, in backward Cayman, junk food for pennies, and healthy food requires a bloody mortgage.

  17. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t help that the healthier options are also pricier. Ppl’s budgets are extra tight these days and will very likely go the cheaper, less healthy route for food for themselves and kids. I enjoy a good salad but spending $7 – $10 daily for it isn’t feasible to me. A good start would be making healthier food options more affordable. All of our MLA’s should be trim and sexy with the nice pay checks they receive.

    • Anonymous says:

      $7-$10 is for a salad from a restaurant/supermarket salad bar. If you made a salad at home with grilled chicken it would be closer to $3 or $4.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If The Brasserie can have its own garden, why would not each and every school have one and use fresh, organic produce grown by kids for its lunches?
    Offer solutions, not worry.

  19. Sir Eats A Lot says:

    I cannot tell a lie, I like big butts.

    • Nunya says:

      CNS can we please have the LOL button back?!?!?

      CNS: Hopefully by the end of the week.

      • Yes Suh! says:

        Really, you found that funny? Wait, wait, wait, I’m just rolling on the ground… Phew! Yeah, that real hilarious! CNS, could you kindly add a stupid button as well?

      • Annie says:

        Yes that comment needed the LOL. Sorry the author was deprived.

      • . says:

        Great to see the LOL button back, but now the thumbs up and down are gone 🙁

        CNS: Slight hiccup. We’re working on it.

  20. Anonymous says:

    to dangerous to exercise on the roads, due to the awful driving standard here. Until police start addressing traffic offences, there is no way my child is exercising on the roads.

    And stop building fast food restaurants next to schools

    • Anonymous says:

      What about the beaches then? I mean we are surrounded by beaches aren’t we? Or walking/running around the local football pitch – there are many alternatives to the roads.

  21. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t help that groceries are extremely expensive and access to natural fruits and vegetables are out of reach to some working class citizens/residents.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a shame that fruits and vegetables must be imported to a caribbean island.

      • Dubious says:

        Yes it’s a shame the good lort blessed us with so much ironshore and swamp… Don’t know if you noticed but we don’t really have the best farm land around.

        • Anonymous says:

          Actually 4:14, we have a lot of good farm land. The problem is that for years it has been converted to residential areas. The interior of GC has acres of good farm land. But, with no clear policies on farming or sustainable agriculture period, it will be fast food.

          • Anonymous says:

            nonsense….locally produced food will never be able to compete on a price level against mass/ industrial produced foods from the states/south america……end of story.
            e.g local eggs…..

            • Anonymous says:

              No, but they can compete against ‘mid-price’ or ‘specially produced’ products, e.g., eggs. So while they mightn’t be ‘certified organic’ they are ‘low pesticide, mostly natural, and low carbon’. (The local farmers & DoA try to reduce – not eliminate – spraying chemicals as a matter of course, and of course they don’t have the carbon cost of shipping them from further afield than East End. Well maybe the Brac.)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Its not the governments job to make your kids healthy. Its our job as parents to set the examples and ensure they are given exercise and healthy food. You don’t think school lunches are healthy, send a packed one. Stop giving them fast food for breakfast or patties. If we did this from the time they were young then it would be conditioned in them to make healthy choices. Go outside and kick a ball with them. Aside from illness, there is no excuse we have nearly year round sun, beaches, parks and loads of access to physical activity. This is not the government’s problem to fix – and besides they aren’t equipped to. Have you seen our Health Minister? YIKES

  23. Anonymous says:

    Public is worried about obesity rate in elected officials too. Set an example.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they’re taking their example from some of our MLAs and senior public servants?

  25. Anonymous says:

    Shocker!! I wonder if it has anything to do w/ the fact that some school lunch options are Corn Dogs, Fries, Pizza, Hot Dogs, Fries… terrible, unhealthy options! I pack my kids lunches, it’s the only way to make sure they aren’t prone to crap food! It makes me sad when I see children drinking sodas and eating Doritos, etc– as if it were their dinner! As parents, we are responsible for what we feed our kids and the obesity factor has to lay on us! If the parents don’t care, the kids won’t either! Schools can help by educating students and cultivating gardens on the school grounds- it teaches responsibility and promotes healthy habits. More time should be spent on the playgrounds anyway, as other countries don’t even start “real school” until age 7 or 8… kids learn from exploring, being active etc! What are we supposed to do to make sure gov’t truly promotes a healthy initiative for our kids?

    • Annie says:

      No one bought the ‘healthy’ lunches, and you cannot get a contractor to provide services if they cannot make a profit. The school does have a nice salad bar, but it costs more ($7.00) than the regular less healthy lunch ($5.00). Healthier alternatives cost more than starchy fatty ones, and many parents cannot afford the extra $10 per week. Maybe instead of putting a slew of new DES admin people on the payroll, they should allocate some of those fund to subsidize healthy lunches. If the salad cost $4.00 I bet more parents would opt for that.

      • Anonymous says:

        there has to be a way to make healthy options cheaper for school lunches– all these suppliers can work w/ gov’t to set up an island wide distribution so it’s more bulk, and they can provide the basic fruits, veg, and even whole wheat options and less fried items. There’s enough room on school grounds to start gardens- they don’t have to be huge, but something to get the conversation started and get kids involved in wanting to eat healthy instead of crap. The gov’t has failed our kids in not waiving the import duty for produce that would be used for the schools… there’s gotta be a way to get around this- they just don’t know how to think out of the box or out of their own wallets! But again, the responsibility needs to start w/ the parents!

    • Anonymous says:

      They really have crappy school lunches.and so expensive too.
      Its no joke!

  26. Dubious says:

    The premier should also be worried about the size of his colleagues. They’re not really setting the best example.

  27. Anonymous says:
    ….this was 6 years ago…..what have you been doing ppm????

    • Anonymous says:

      20% of kids are obese because they are overfed by their parents and the other 80% are starving because their parents don’t have a job, and the government of the day is to blame for both? Shouldn’t you also blame the ppm if your girlfriend likes another man (or woman?), and if you have erectile dysfunction?

    • Nunya says:

      6 years ago is not just the PPM. We need to stop playing politics with our kids lives, health and education.

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