Today’s Editorial July 19: Get up, get active

We have picked up on a bad habit from our neighbours to the north in the United States.

Like the US, the Cayman Islands is now facing an obesity crisis according to a visiting consultant cardiologist with the Health Services Administration.

Sure, we all battle a few extra pounds, but those who are considered obese – 30 pounds or more over weight – are putting their lives at risk.

The problem with obesity is that it is a public health issue.

Obesity leads to chronic diseases like heart ailments, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and stroke.

While obesity can be linked to genetics, it can also be caused by several other factors, such as the way we live our lives.

Many of those of us who work outside the home find ourselves parked in a chair behind a computer day in and day out, eating lunch at our desks. Many times that lunch comes from a fast food restaurant.

At the end of the work day when we should be going to the gym to work out, we’re just too mentally exhausted to think about spending an hour or two burning off calories.

We are fortunate to live in a wonderful part of the Caribbean where we have excellent restaurants that serve scrumptious food. Many times the portions of that food are huge compared to what our grandparents ate. We serve large portions at home, too.

Our forefathers and mothers didn’t have the luxuries of air conditioning, television, supermarkets filled with tempting snacks and sodas, fast food eateries and vehicles.

They worked the land with their hands, grew and caught what they ate and walked, rowed boats or rode horses and donkeys to get where they needed to go.

They weren’t sedentary. We are.

Cardiologist Kevin Coy plans to present to the HSA and Health Minister Anthony Eden suggestions about how to improve cardiac services in the Cayman Islands.

In his suggestion he will urge Government to adopt an across-the-board strategy to combat obesity.

We welcome his input and Government’s efforts, but it is up to each of us, individually, to tackle the obesity problem facing the Cayman Islands.

The answer is simple. Cut down on how much food you’re putting in your mouth and get active.

It’s a simple equation – burn more calories than you take in.

Obesity isn’t just a personal problem any more. It’s now a public health problem.

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