Nutritionist Phillipa Barry announced that there has been an increase in the number of persons diagnosed with chronic non-communicable diseases including cancers, diabetes, hypertension and kidney diseases and she said that these diagnosis are transcending age ranges starting from as young as age four.
Barry was speaking as a panelist of a National Health Insurance sponsored public discussion on Chronic Diseases held on 6 December. She explained that the increase in these diseases are attributed to eating and increase in obesity among those individuals.
As she noted the correlation between what people eat and chronic diseases Barry noted in a response that concerns about processed foods, and she also mentioned the recent recalls of various food items.
The Nutritionist said. “We have to understand that currently, right now we are in what you call like Bio terrorism and it’s not new, the situation with these recalls, it’s not new…It just so happen now in terms of what is going on in the world right now and we have to be very mindful.”
In further explaining the harm of processed food the Nutritionist said: “With the prevalence of these chronic diseases it really stems from the processed foods and we also have to be careful too as well in terms of the foods that are being imported and where they come from how they are being stored. We don’t really have persons at the level or the government level in terms of inspecting these foods when they come in.”
In most discussions relating to food it is often said that it is best to buy local, and the Nutritionist also referenced this point: “We are very vulnerable right now because not necessarily in the aftermath of the hurricanes that we have experienced but the agriculture and the locally grown foods in abundance where we can say well we can see if we can actually encourage persons to choose more of the local produce and so as to avoid those.”
Notwithstanding, the need to avoid processed items and purchase locally grown wholesome items; Barry is cautious about factors relating to farming such as pesticides. “We also have to think in terms of those very same individual farmers who are currently trying to regroup to try to get back on stream. We have to look in terms of those farmers if they are still using the chemicals as pesticides and so forth, so it’s just as bad as if we are supposed to get those foods that are imported that are actually having those toxins that can be harmful to our bodies.”