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Jamaican women two times overweight than men, says study

Published:Saturday | June 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator

More than twice as many Jamaican women were overweight compared to the men, noted the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013, recently published by The Lancet.

According to the data, 62.7 per cent of women were overweight and 32 per cent were obese, compared to 37.1 per cent of men who were overweight and 10.6 per cent who were obese.

The study, released online last week, also noted that 31 per cent of girls were overweight and 10.9 per cent were obese, compared to 13.4 per cent and 5.3 per cent, respectively, of boys.

Now classified as a disease, obesity has been established as a health risk, with a substantial increase in prevalence over the years. Worldwide, the prevalence of overweight and obesity combined rose by 27.5 per cent in adults and 47.1 per cent in children from 1980 to 2013, the data revealed.

MAJOR GLOBAL CHALLENGE

According to the study, obesity has now become a major global challenge, noting that the number of overweight and obese individuals increased from 857 million to 2.1 billion over the 33-year period.

In 2010, overweight and obesity were estimated to cause 3.4 million deaths, as well as four per cent of years of life lost and four per cent of disability-adjusted life-years. An increase in obesity is expected to reduce life expectancy in the future.

Acknowledging the implications of what is being described as a global pandemic, Minister of Health Dr Fenton Ferguson recently stated that obesity was the number-one health problem in Jamaica, which he said had far-reaching effects as it leads to the development of other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Ferguson announced that the Government's five-year NCD Strategic Plan, which is the first comprehensive strategic plan for NCDs in Jamaica, has already been approved by Cabinet, and will address the four major causes of death and morbidity in Jamaica. These include: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and the four major risk factors of physical inactivity, unhealthy eating, harmful use of alcohol, and tobacco use.