Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents B1
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TREMAINE SOCA WARNER and ZAHRA GORDON
T&T was recently ranked the third fattest
country in the world based on a report in
the UK s Daily Mail newspaper. The report
listed countries by the average body mass
index (BMI) of the population. Many may
agree with the ranking, but what s the cause
and how can the problem be addressed? The
T&T Guardian spoke to the Minister of
Health, pediatrician Dr Bratt and people try-
ing to lose weight to find out what s going
on.At the Guardian south office, reporters and
clerical employees had taken up a weight loss
challenge even before the report was released.
According to office manager Hazel Ross-Perot,
she initiated the challenge because she wanted
to lose weight in time to attend her daughter's
graduation. Ross-Perot said she and others
in the office noticed that they were not as
slim as they used to be. They were also con-
cerned about having high blood pressure.
To enter the challenge, participants pay a
five dollar fee. They weigh in on Tuesdays
and those who've gained weight are fined.
The challenge will continue until June 12 and
the person who loses the most weight will
get to keep the money from fines. The process
has been fun, however. "The motivation in
doing it comes from doing it together as a
team. That's really a big help so we have fun,"
said Ross-Perot. Participants have been eating
more fruits and vegetables, walking together
and playing cricket she added.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said T&T
had been increasing in size for the past 15 to
20 years. He said that among children under
10, the percentage of obesity had increased
from 10 per cent to 25 per cent. Among adults
the percentage had gone from between 25
and 30 per cent to 55 per cent.
Although Khan attributed the increase to
the change in foods people are eating, like
the gravitation towards more fast food, he
said the fast food industry cannot be regulated.
"What we can do is educate the population
and ask the fast food industry and other food
producers to reduce some of the food's neg-
The ministry has been operating a Fight
the Fat campaign since 2011 trying to get peo-
ple to eat healthier and get more exercise.
Khan says the programme has been successful
but needs to become more visible.
Last month Khan announced that soft
drinks and other fatty foods would be removed
from school lunches.
Pediatrician Dr David Bratt said, however,
that children's diets have to be carefully mon-
itored. "With children you can't count calories.
It's very difficult and dangerous to do so. A
child who is overweight, you don't put that
child on a diet to lose weight. Children need
calories to grow." He added that for a child
who is overweight, the parent needs to slow
down the child's weight increase by increas-
ing physical activity.
According to Bratt, whether or not teenagers
can diet depends on how much they have
grown during adolescence. "If they've stopped
growing, you can do it but it must be done
under expert advice."
He said that Trinis eat too much fast food,
pastries and processed snacks while they con-
Continues on Page B2
Male athletes are the group most likely to
tear their Achilles tendon, according to a new
study published in the April 2013 issue of Foot
& Ankle International (FAI), A SAGE journal.
The activity most likely to cause the injury
was basketball, and NBA players such as Kobe
Bryant have been in the news lately for this
Drs Steven Raikin, David Garras and Philip
Krapchev reviewed 406 records from patients
at one clinic diagnosed with Achilles tendon in-
juries from August 2000 and December 2010.
The average age was 46 years old, 83 per cent
of the patients were males, and sports were
responsible for 68 per cent of the ruptures.
The most common sports involved were
basketball (32 per cent of all ruptures), tennis
(nine per cent), and football (eight per cent).
Among patients younger than 55 years of age,
77 per cent of ruptures occurred during sports,
compared to 42 per cent of the patients 55 or
older. Older patients, and those whose BMI
(body-mass index) was greater than 30, were
more likely to have non-sports related causes
and were more likely to not have been diag-
nosed correctly at the time of injury. Greater
than one-third of the tendon ruptures not
caused by sports occurred at work.
When the diagnosis was missed, it was
usually because the initial diagnosis was an
Achilles tendon injuries more likely in male athletes
'Employers need to allow staff to rotate the
time they come in. We need to look at some
form of medical plan with a wellness
programme so that twice or three times a week
you will go to a prescribed place to work out for
that time and then come back to work.'
RODNEY VIRE, FITNESS TRAINER
The fight against fat is on
There are many people who are
intent on fighting the fat in T&T,
like this group of keep fit
enthusiasts at a spin class at
Rodney's Revolution, Queen's
Park Oval. PHOTO: ANDY HYPOLITE
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