“Weighty” issues can be addressed

Lydia Ferguson.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – When it comes to obesity, The Bahamas ranks sixth in the world, which puts the country on track to record increasing cases of diabetes.

However, Founder of Weight Watchers Bahamas, Lydia Ferguson, said despite this high ranking, something can be done to address this issue.

“Obesity is a global concern that is affecting men and women,” Ferguson said.

“When it comes to weight problems, a lot of people during their lifetime may experience putting on weight one time or the other; children during puberty, pregnant women, and even those that are undergoing menopause.”

The Weight Watchers founder said the excess weight causes much discomfort and she also noted that healthcare costs are escalating.

She made reference to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), stating that most of it is spent on treating non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Ferguson, noted, however, that statistics have shown that even a moderate weight loss of 5 – 10 percent can reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases.

Ferguson said after Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands recently made it known that one third of the nation is diabetic, it was only then that she realized how many people had given up on bettering themselves. She assured that addressing  weight issues and making life changes is not impossible.

Earlier this year, while addressing parliamentarians in the House of Assembly, Dr. Sands said The Bahamas was losing its battle with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD). He revealed that The Bahamas has the highest incidents of diabetes in the world and  Bahamians have hypertension that is so severe, the country ranks number seven in the world in deaths related to high blood pressure.

Dr. Sands said it was clear that Bahamians were eating themselves to death.

Ferguson said when she decided to introduce Weight Watchers to The Bahamas some 30 years ago, she was overweight and wearing a size 22 dresses, but she eventually lost 70 pounds.

Ferguson said having both parents die from diabetes, and knowing so many individuals who have passed away from this deadly disease, she is encouraging Bahamians to begin to make a lifestyle change now. She said that adopting healthy habits and building on them is sustainable.

“Diabetes kills you slowly,” Ferguson warned. “You are living, but living dead because gradually it destroys every organ in your body.”

Weight Watchers Coach Chiwah Ferguson said Bahamians should adopt preventative measures to ensure that they remain healthy. Bahamians, she said, are too hesitant to make changes without simply trying.

Both Lydia and Chiwah are encouraging women to walk more, stretch their legs and find ways to keep their bodies active.