Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Obesity takes centrestage for Heart Month

Published:Friday | January 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
From left: Edgrina Frith, category manager, Seprod; Cindy Breakspeare; Winston Barett, vice chairman, The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ); Dr Sonia Copeland, director for health promotion and protection; Dr Andrene Chung, consultant cardiologist, HFJ; Peter Bangerter, HFJ founding board member; Debora Chen, HFJ executive director; and Amoye Phillpotts-Brown, Wisynco/Welch's; take part in the launch of Heart Month and the 45th anniversary of the HFJ, held Tuesday at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.

Consultant cardiologist at the Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) Dr Andrene Chung, says that there is an obesity problem among Jamaica's children which she attributes to a major cutback in their time spent engaging in outdoor activities and poor food choices.

Chung told The Gleaner on Tuesday, during the HFJ's launch of Heart Month at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston, that children have found new ways to occupy their time, ignoring outdoor play, leading to obesity among them.

"I think there is a problem with children, as there is worldwide, in that our children are becoming more overweight, and that's mainly, I think, related to the fact that they're not doing as much physical activity as they used to do because there are so many other ways to entertain themselves without going outside, and also because poor food choices are being made," Chung said.

She commented that some adults faced a similar problem.

"Of course there's a chronic problem with people as they age, so the older age group as well (is affected). As they get older, they're not moving as much and they are not making good (food) choices, so we have a problem at both extremes."


Health and lifestyle surveys conducted in 2007 revealed that in Jamaica, up to 65 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men are overweight.

This year's launch was held under the theme 'Obesity - A Weighty Matter'. It focused on getting Jamaicans to develop an appreciation for a longer and better quality of life through the prevention and control of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Welch's Grape Juice and Serge Island were the two main sponsors of the event.

HFJ seeks to align with the World Health Organization's target of a 25 per cent reduction in premature CVD mortality through cardiovascular health screening, treatment, education, and advocacy.