The situation of childhood obesity was lamented by the doctors during a recent appearance on JTV Spotlight program.
Dr. Natasha Frett and Dr. Arnel Soller, Pediatricians of the BVI Health Services Authority stressed the importance of child health and the need for parents to ensure that their children visit the pediatrician.
Dr. Soller, who spoke on the issue of childhood obesity, said: “Nutrition is very important because of the obesity problems.” Previously the mindset appeared to be that a weighty child was a healthy child and he said that this is not true.
“It has been a long thought that if you have a big child it is a healthy child, but the thing is obesity is a malnutrition. It is not only if you have low weight you are malnourished. Obesity is a malnutrition; and it is connected to other diseases. You have an increased risk of having a heart attack when…high cholesterol levels, stroke, depression, bullying it is connected with other issues and therefore it is very important really that obesity should be tackled,” Dr. Soller stated.
Additionally, Dr. Frett stated: “One of the things that we have to be cognizant of is the fact that children are going through a dynamic process and that is growth and development; and because of that a number of things can go wrong, a number of things can be missed. This is why it is important to take your child to the pediatrician on a regular basis because you want to ensure that they can optimize their growth, optimize their ability to achieve their milestone.”
Last month, in his statement in observance of World Diabetes Day, Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon. Ronnie Skelton bemoaned the fact that diabetes is now prevalent among young people, even children because many are overweight or obese.
The Minister stated that research conducted in the Virgin Islands revealed that 37 percent of students aged 13 to 15 years, were overweight or obese.
Hon. Skelton stressed that there was a need for youth in the Territory to adopt healthier lifestyles: “Getting our youth to adopt a healthy lifestyle sets the stage for them to continue maintaining healthier habits into adulthood and old age,” Hon. Skelton said.
The Ministry is very concerned about the obesity statistics among young members of the society and in October continued efforts to stem the issue.