Bermuda’s obesity rate is rising rapidly, and the epidemic has become the country’s number one public health threat. Managing obesity requires a multifaceted approach. In preventing obesity, the government and the whole community must promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle throughout Bermuda.
Throughout this article, you will learn about the current obesity crisis in Bermuda and how we are tackling it.
The Obesity Epidemic in Bermuda
Like any other OECD country, Bermuda faces a public health threat due to obesity. Here are the current facts and statistics in our country:
- According to World Population Review, Bermuda’s obesity rate sits at 34.40% this 2021. This number is very high compared to the other countries on the list.
- Bermuda’s Ministry of Health has found that 75% of residents are overweight and over a third are obese. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes in the country is among the highest in the OECD countries.
- Generally speaking, these high levels of obesity are detrimental to the health of Bermuda’s population. It can lead to type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, sleep issues, and musculoskeletal disorders. Moreover, it reduces performance, damages mental health, and threatens Bermuda’s future prosperity
- The leading causes of death in Bermuda are chronic, non-communicable diseases and conditions. These diseases are primarily due to lifestyle factors such as inactivity and poor diet
- According to the Health Minister, obesity & diabetes will add over $26 Million to Bermuda’s health costs in the next ten years. This cost is a significant strain on our country’s economy.
- Bermuda has an environment in which several factors are leading to weight gain and obesity. The movie Greezin highlights this point.
Bermuda’s Best Obesity Prevention and Control Initiatives
The control of obesity and all related risks demands a comprehensive approach. Apart from the government, it should include schools, families, communities, and businesses. Health policies play a critical role in preventing obesity and promoting good health. Many Bermuda policies and initiatives address the promotion of healthy living:
Bermuda’s Best Obesity Prevention and Control Initiatives
The strategy lays out the government’s plan for reforming the health system. In this strategy, the main goal is to provide affordable and sustainable healthcare to all Bermuda residents. In particular, it outlines 14 health strategy objectives to address specific inadequacies in the health sector. Two of these objectives focus on the prevention of obesity, its causes, and complications.
No. 11: Encourage healthy lifestyles through involving health professionals and organizations.
No. 13: Increase the access to interventions to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.
Currently, the Ministry of Health is updating the strategy for 2020 – 2025.
Bermuda Healthy Schools Nutrition Policy
The following policy is the Healthy Schools Nutrition Policy, which outlines school food standards as stated below:
- Providing fruit and vegetables in food service, cafeterias, and school events
- Restrictions on salty and sugary foods
- Availability of low-fat dairy products, lean meats, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables
- The use of lower-fat cooking methods
- More importantly, it encourages eating of whole fruits and vegetables rather than relying solely on juices.
- Lastly, school lunches must be consistent with Bermuda’s Daily Dietary Guidelines and EatWell Plate recommendations.
Vending Machine and Cafeteria Policy
The policy prohibits sodas and snacks from being sold in vending machines on school grounds. As an alternative, vending machines and cafeterias will serve plain, unsweetened water, milk, 100% fruit juices. Aside from vending healthy drinks, it should also include healthy food and snack options.
Premier’s Youth Fitness Programme
PYFP seeks to emphasize fitness to enhance student health in schools and the community. For instance, the program aims to increase children’s’ and teens’ daily physical activity. In addition, healthy eating should also apply to their families outside of school.
Obesity and Diabetes Framework
A crucial part of this framework is preventing obesity and diabetes early on and providing quality care for those who have it already. The intervention model describes different phases and how to address them. Below is a description of the whole process.
- The continuum of disease (from little or no risk to complicated disease)
- Intervening at each transition point on the continuum
- Implementing the prevention model. This model includes health promotion, risk reduction, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and care.
Taking it to the Streets
Taking it to the Streets campaign involves free health screenings. Bringing the screenings to public areas makes it easier for the public to attend and enables healthcare providers to direct attendees to any health resources they might need. The goal is to identify persons at risk of chronic non-communicable diseases. Included in the screenings are:
- Blood sugar monitoring
- Evaluation of cardiac risk profile
- Blood pressure monitoring
- Weight monitoring
‘Choose Your Health, Eat Sustainably’ Campaign
Finally, we have the Bermuda Dietitians Association’s campaign “Choose Your Health, Eat Sustainably.” This campaign shows how Bermudians can make essential changes for Bermuda’s health and the planet. It was modeled after the “One Blue Dot” project of the British Dietetic Association. The project reviews dietary guidance research to encourage healthy and sustainable eating habits.
Medically-Supervised Weight Loss Programmes
The best course of action for patients who find it difficult to lose weight on their own or who experience complications from obesity is to seek out a medically supervised weight loss program. Private practices, as well as public and private weight loss programs, are available throughout Bermuda.
A medically supervised weight loss program relies on a team of healthcare experts, such as doctors, nurses, registered dietitians, and psychologists, to decide what is and is not safe for your specific case. Here at PHWC, we have different Premier Wellness Plans that are customized to each individual’s needs.
We Can Reduce Obesity in our Community
All of us play a part in combating the rising obesity epidemic in Bermuda. As part of the medical field, we at PHWC can help people lose weight safely and effectively. In particular, a multidisciplinary team of experts will provide you with individualized weight loss solutions.
Moreover, PHWC will create a safe and supportive environment that promotes life-long healthy habits and addresses obesity-related concerns.
Begin your path to a healthier life! If you’d like more information about our Premier Wellness Plan, book an appointment or contact us at 441-292-5111 .or contact us at 441-292-5111 .