Doctors to focus on obesity at three-day symposium

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

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THE spotlight will be on obesity at this year's staging of Medical Association of Jamaica's (MAJ's) three-day symposium, which starts on Thursday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston.

The symposium will be held under the distinguished patronage of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen and under the theme 'Obesity: Do we even have a slim chance?'.

“Obesity is very topical and we would like to inform the whole nation to teach them all about obesity, the drawbacks of having this condition and what we can do to prevent it,” said MAJ President Dr Clive Lai.

“Obesity not only affects Jamaica, it affects the whole world; over the last 40 years the obesity rate has tripled and 39 per cent of the world's adult population are either overweight or obese,” added Dr Lai.

He said, too, that 18 per cent of the world's children over five years were overweight or obese.

According to the MAJ president, approximately 60 per cent of the adult population in Jamaica is either overweight or obese, which ranks the country the 39th most obese nation of 195 countries.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton will declare the symposium officially open on Thursday during the opening ceremony, while director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre in Barbados Professor Alafia Samuels will bring the keynote address on the same date.

The symposium, which will be open to the public, begins on Friday and will cover different aspects of obesity, including obesity and its consequences; medical aspects of obesity, obesity challenges, childhood obesity, female health and obesity as well as ethical issues in dealing with obese patients.

There will also be several informative presentations on obesity, including sex and the obese patient — the fluffy culture; how body shaming can perpetuate obesity, cardiac surgery in obese patients; gynaecological problems and the obese woman; obesity in pregnancy and the impact on child post-delivery; as well as childhood obesity and obesity in high school adolescents.

A number of exhibitors will also be present and will showcase a wide range of products. Some of the companies expected to attend are Apex Radiology, Cardiovmeds, Denk Phamra, Sagicor Life, Jamaica Money Market Brokers Investment Fund, Nestle, Lasco Distributors, Heart Foundation, and Heritage Education Funds International.

The symposium is one of several activities planned for Medical Association of Jamaica Week, which started on Sunday with a church service at Swallowfield Chapel in Kingston.

Other activities will include visits to schools each day between June 4 and 6 to inform children about the problems with being overweight and obesity, and measures that they can take to avoid this condition.

The annual banquet, at which Olympian Novlene Williams-Mills will be presented with the president's award, will take place on Saturday. Two doctors, Charles Lyn and Garfield Badal, will also receive MAJ awards for outstanding service to the association.

The week's activities will come to a close on Sunday with a fun walk/run at Emancipation Park, where MAJ members will also take part in Jamaica Move campaign activities. Members of the public are invited.

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