Basseterre, St. Kitts – Tishima Browne, an aspiring paediatrician and the 2014-2015 National Carnival Queen, addressed the Rotary Club of Liamuiga at its May 20 breakfast meeting giving a passionate speech about childhood obesity. The 24-year old has made the health issue and its increasing prevalence in the Federation and across the region a highlight of her reign. In her presentation to the Rotary Club, Ms. Browne highlighted the impact of changing lifestyles and family eating habits on childhood health.
“In the past, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day and participated in a wide range of physical activities. Meals were home cooked, and there was always a vegetable on the plate, while eating fast foods was rare,” noted Ms. Browne.
“Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Walks to and from schools have been replaced by car and bus rides. Afternoons are now spent with the TV, video games and the internet. Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home cooked meals while portion sizes have exploded.”
Ms. Browne pointed out that childhood obesity is quickly emerging as one of the most significant global health crises of our generation. Finding a solution will take the collective commitment of everyone.
“We can turn things around. But as we know, just making a declaration that people need to eat healthy and be active has brought about negligible change. Healthy eating and taking exercise are great goals to have, but they are just too vague to ever affect substantial transformation,” said Ms Browne. “The best chance of success that we can give our children is to be proactive parents, healthcare providers and government officials in a proactive community.”
“Our Club was truly enlightened by Ms Browne’s excellent presentation. She highlighted a serious health and socioeconomic concern that we know exists but have not done enough to combat,” said Dr Marcus L Natta, president of the Rotary Club of Liamuiga. “Our Club has accepted the call and challenge from Ms Browne to be more proactive in finding solutions to this medical condition and we have pledged to partner with her on any of her future initiatives in this area.”
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally, in 2013 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 31 million of these are living in developing countries. – World Health Organization (WHO)
For more information about the Club’s work, please visit the Club’s website rotaryliamuiga.org or facebook.com/rotaryliamuiga.