Nutritionist Cartel: “Drop sugar, soda and fruit” Obesity goes into big numbers

POSTED: 11/14/12 12:28 PM

GREAT BAY – Overweight and obesity are becoming serious problems on St. Maarten with 70 per cent of the population being overweight of which 30 per cent is obese. Not only adults on the island suffer from it, many children are also known to have this medical condition. Research by the Sector of Health Care Affairs has shown that approximately 14 per cent of five-year-old children and 23 per cent of 10-year-olds are overweight.

Childhood obesity is already epidemic in some areas and on the rise in others. An estimated 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. This is mainly caused by the many fast-food chains and unhealthy lifestyles, which are the results of an increased fat and caloric intake and the lack of physical exercise is also a main cause of overweight and obesity. Children rather stay at home doing soccer video games for example than go out to the soccer field and get their exercise.

Overweight and obese children have a 77 per cent chance of staying obese into adulthood and are more likely to develop various diseases such as; type 2 diabetes, coronary heart diseases, high LDL cholesterol, liver diseases, sleep apnea, and even several forms of cancer. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than one billion adults being overweight – at least 300 million of them are clinically diagnosed as obese – and it is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability.

Nutritionist and Fitness Director of Belair Health and Fitness Club, Mark Cartel says, “In order to keep yourself healthy and in a decent condition there are a few things you can do to contribute to that. “Don’t skip breakfast, breakfast is the most important meal you can have since it will get your metabolism working, eat frequently every three hours small amounts. This way it will digest better than when you eat less often with bigger amounts.”

“There are two big rules in food; one is to drop sugar, soda and fruit. These items contain lots of sugar and are high in calories. Pineapple and bananas are the worst. The second rule is to avoid white supplements such as white rice, white bread and white pasta. These items after you eat will turn right into fat,” Cartel says. “Instead take brown rice, wheat pastas or brown bread, and have them in small portions.” “Add some grilled chicken – without the skin – and vegetables, and you will have a nice and healthy dinner.”

On the exercise part, Cartel says: “Just start with walking, it doesn’t mean you have to walk marathons, but for the extra exercise walking is perfect.” Cartel’s target is to work with overweight and obese children on St. Maarten. “These children don’t have the basic knowledge of motion, and I strongly believe there is a need for it here on the island.”

As of today, World Diabetes Day will start. Diabetes is the most common disease among children and adults who are highly overweight or obese. The Ministry of Health is organizing a walk and bikeathon to get the people to move and to get checked for diabetes.


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