Thursday 19 October, 2017

Heart Foundation urges Jamaicans to check weight regularly

The Heart Foundation of Jamaica (HFJ) is urging Jamaicans to check their weight on a regular basis to determine whether they are overweight or obese.

In an interview with JIS News, HFJ Executive Director, Deborah Chen, said that many persons who are told they are overweight are surprised, because many people gain weight incrementally without realising.

“If you are 10 to 20 pounds overweight, that does not fall within the category of obese, but if you are much higher than that over your normal body weight, there are various categories, such as Obese 1-3,” she explained.

“The categories are decided based on the risk to health, for example, persons who are overweight will increase their risk of high blood pressure,” she added.

The Executive Director likened the extra weight on the body to carrying around a knapsack with the additional pounds each day, and pointed out that it would put a strain on the heart.

“We expect the heart to keep pumping to get the blood around even when we are so many pounds overweight. The more overweight you are, the more the health risk,” she warned.

She explained that the hormonal impact of being overweight may lead to other conditions such as diabetes and cancer, pointing out that the pancreas may not work as it should, and if insulin is not being produced by the pancreas, it can lead to diabetes.

According to Chen, obesity has become one of the main risk factors for non-communicable diseases, and in particular cardiovascular conditions, in recent years.

She recommends that persons go to their doctor or to the Heart Foundation to get their weight checked, and have height and weight calculated by a doctor, so they can be advised how many pounds overweight they are.

Chen was speaking against the background of World Obesity Day, which is being observed on Wednesday, October 11, under the theme ‘Treat Obesity Now and Avoid the Consequences Later’.

The observation of the day is intended to bring awareness to the public of the global obesity crisis. Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health, and are major risk factors linked to the growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).