Creating a Generation ‘O’

It is with great concern that I write today about my recent trip to Grand Cayman.

I first want to thank Baptist Hospital, the physicians, and all the people that made me feel so welcomed while I was there.

I was told before I arrived in Grand Cayman that the incidence of childhood obesity was worse than in the United States, but I did not expect to see what I did. I visited two schools, the first school was private, and the second school was public. After visiting both schools, here are some of my concerns:

Private school

At the private school, which offers physical education only twice a week, I saw the heavier kids sitting around not exercising, and the kids that had a healthy weight running around being physically active. I was told that they also engage in after school activities.

We have to make sure that those kids that really need the exercise are not choosing to get involved in sedentary choices like art and music. The percentage of overweight to obese children in this school, to the best of my observation, was similar to the United States – about 30 per cent to 35 per cent.

Public schools

The public school was a complete shock. I saw easily 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the students being overweight or obese, but the biggest concern is the amount of adolescents suffering from morbid obesity.

I was able to walk through the cafeteria and again I was shocked to find that the first foods that the kids see are chocolate bars and fruit juices. It also did not help that it was pizza day. Another big concern is having a Burger King and Wendy’s right besides the school.

As we all know childhood obesity is a global crisis that affects our most treasured gifts, our children.

We need to find a way to work together to be able to beat this terrible disease, and the complications that it brings. I believe that together we can change the future; and we can see our children and grandchildren grow and become healthy adults.

Dr. Pedro C. Reimon, Pediatric Weight Management Associates, Florida.

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