The Caribbean region is under widespread risks of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), a senior health official said Tuesday.
About 40 percent of the Caribbean people are now living with some chronic type of NCDs and the situation is worsening, said James Hospedales, executive director of the Caribbean Pubic Health Agency, a regional organization based in Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking at a health conference in Barbados, he noted that four major NCDs, namely cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cancers, are responsible for 65 percent of all deaths in the Caribbean region.
The Caribbean countries, he added, have some of the highest rates of diabetes in the world, with one in every five to 10 adults expected to have diabetes in the future.
As to hypertension, the figure is one in every three to five adults, said Hospedales.
Image credit : www.chihealth.in
Potential causes of those diseases are high levels of alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, tobacco and unhealthy diets, Hospedales said.
He stressed that more and more children and adolescents in the Caribbean region are now facing obesity, with the share of those overweight or obese having tripled to 20 to 35 percent over the last 20 to 25 years.
"It is one thing if a middle-aged person puts on some weight and gets a big belly. It is another when it's a child," Hospedales said, adding that there are high chances for them to remain obese in their adulthood.
"Obesity is not just an NCD problem. It concerns mental health issues, employability and jobs. It concerns stigma and discrimination," Hospedales said.