Categorized | National News

Bahamas Ranks High for HIV/AIDS and Obesity

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said the country’s HIV/AIDS and obesity statistics are startling, taking center stage with the highest levels ever recorded.

Equally alarming is the fact that The Americas is the heaviest region in the world and The Bahamas is the heaviest country in that region.

“The percentage of population who was overweight reached 79.2 percent in 2012, up from 70.5 percent in 2005 with no significant difference by sex. Obesity too increased so that every other person (50 percent) in the Bahamas has a BMI around 29.9. Most startling is that overweight and obesity among the school aged youth have skyrocketed 436 percent since 1988, from 6.4 percent to 34.3 percent,” Dr. Sands said yesterday.

“Another contributing factor to ill health is low levels of exercise, although we (Bahamians) refuse to accept that this is a problem. In an important study, 90 percent of Bahamians reported eating less than five servings of fruits and vegetables a week, as compared to 47.3 percent in 2005.”

A key to assuring this issue, he said, begins at birth with breast feeding, but statistics shows that for some reason Bahamians tend to shy away from that practice.

“Breastfeeding rates are low and have varied between 10.9 percent to 29.2 percent from 2005 to 2011. Exclusive breastfeeding for the first 16 weeks of life is considered a good start to a lifetime of healthy nutrition and has been shown to be protective against obesity and chronic diseases,” Dr. Sands said.

Sadly, the country has also seen its highest cases of HIV/AIDS prevalence outside of Sub-Saharan Africa.

“At last tally, in December of 2014, there were 8,630 people living in the Bahamas with HIV/AIDS representing 2 percent of the population,” he said.

“While we have dropped our national prevalence from 3 percent to 2 percent, far too many people are being diagnosed late and we are still seeing increasing cases among our youth.”

The minister attributed all of these reasons as to why the cost of healthcare in the country remains so high, but again committed to the Bahamian people that his ministry will work on measures to reduce the cost.

Dr. Sands also pointed out that between 2012 and 2016 the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) recorded 1,229 stabbing incidents and 1,078 gunshot wounds.

He added that 1,272 assaults were recorded in 2016, along with 246 stabbing and 216 gunshot wounds and three were only cases whereby victims arrive to the emergency room alive.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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