Importance of diet and exercise emphasised as World Obesity Day observed

Since 2020, World Obesity Day has been officially observed on March 4, this year under the theme Changing Perspectives: Let’s Talk About Obesity’.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, during a recent interview, said obesity is a major health issue in Guyana, with a number of Guyanese are suffering from the disease.

Dr Frank Anthony, Minister of Health

He stated that a simple calculation called the Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to measure if a person is overweight and/or obese. The minister said it is important that persons are aware of the other risk factors associated with obesity.

“Obesity is a risk factor for a number of chronic non-communicable diseases. These diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, persons presenting with cardiovascular diseases or heart diseases, while some persons can suffer from a stroke, and some would have difficulty sleeping” he said.  

The health minister informed that the BMI range for a person to be considered overweight is 25 to 29.9, while a BMI score of 30 and above is considered obese.

He also noted the importance of persons knowing their BMI so that they are aware of which group they fall, normal weight, overweight or obese.

Minister Anthony highlighted that diet and exercise are important in controlling this disease.

“A lot of what we eat is not necessarily a healthy diet. We tend to consume a lot of meat and carbohydrates – these things can contribute to an increase in body mass and ultimately lead to obesity.

“If people are inactive, then they can easily gain weight. So, we want to encourage people to be more active [because] the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) recommended that persons walk, run, and be active for at least 30 minutes every day.”

This year’s theme aims to correct misconceptions, increase awareness, encourage advocacy, while improving policies in relation to the disease.