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Panamanians among the most obese in Central America and the Caribbean

  • Written by Prensa Latina
  • Published in Health
PANAMA, Feb 23 (Prensa Latina) Panama is today the fourth most obese and overweight country in Central America and the Caribbean, which constitutes a risk factor for the incidence of diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
According to health authorities, 61.5 percent of the Panamanian population suffers from obesity, a condition that affects one in 10 children under five, while three in 10 infants and adolescents are overweight, a figure that doubles among adults.

Studies of the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the risk of being obese when family members have this condition is 27.5 percent in men and 21.2 percent in women.

The United Nations agency argues that obesity is a public health problem, which in the region is not seen as such, but as a risk factor for suffering from hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions, among other diseases.

In this regard, the specialist Víctor Nolasco said that many doctors and patients consider overweight and obesity as an aesthetic problem and not health, hence the importance of considering these conditions as a disease to address it in an interdisciplinary way.

He explained that to prevent this evil it is necessary to raise awareness in the population of the importance of maintaining healthy living habits such as adequate food and the practice of physical exercises.

According to the WHO, obesity is a worldwide epidemic that currently affects just over one billion adults in the world and that in the future could suffer 22 million children less than five years.

The 2018 Food and Nutrition Security Outlook revealed that being overweight affects 7.3 percent (3.9 million) of children under five, a figure that exceeds the global average of 5.6 percent .

According to experts, inequality aggravates hunger, malnutrition and obesity, while also impacting lower income people, women, indigenous people, Afro-descendants and rural families in Latin America and the Caribbean.

sus/jf / npg

  • Countries: Caribbean