More children in Guyana are becoming obese


More children in Guyana are presenting with obesity due to bad eating habits they have developed, but according to a general surgeon at the Georgetown Public Hospital, Dr. Hemraj Ramcharran, with parental monitoring and dieting aided by nutritionists, this can be prevented.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every three children is overweight or obese. This is worrying considering that 50 per cent of Guyana’s population is obese.

Many persons have adopted unhealthy eating habits such as binge eating and stress eating. And, Dr. Hemraj Ramcharran, a general and advanced laparoscopic surgeon attached at the Georgetown Public Hospital, said on Wednesday that in addressing the global health issue, closer attention must be placed to children’s development.

“We are seeing there are more children presenting with obesity and all of this is due to the western eating habit that we are adopting at a rapid rate.

Dr Hemraj Ramcharran (Photo: News Room/ June 21, 2022)

“If they are obese, something should be done where they can see a nutritionist who looks at what the person is having as a diet and then work out a plan for that person. A lot of diets fail because you want to suddenly convert someone from one thing to another and what nutritionists do is reduce it slowly so it becomes more tolerable,” Dr Ramcharran said.

The hospital’s clinic is open for visits by persons who want to engage nutritionists among other doctors. Dr. Ramcharran reminded that in early childhood, doctors conduct examinations to check the height to weight and determine whether the child carries the weight and height fit for their age. Parents must continue these checks as the child develops.

He explained that there is normal weight, overweight, mildly obese, moderately or severely obese, and that these factor into the long-term development of the child.

During a conference on Wednesday to address obesity in Guyana, it was revealed that most persons join the hospital’s clinic and are obese between 20- 40 years old.

Obesity leads to other health complications and Dr. Ramcharran reiterated that while these complications might not develop immediately, by prolonging treatment, persons put themselves at a higher risk.

“When you’re young below 40 and you’re obese, by the time you’re 40 you will get at least one comorbidity, diabetes, hypertension, among the others,” Dr Ramcharran warned.

While nutrition and lifestyle changes are often frontline treatment options, Dr Ramcharran also disclosed that surgical interventions can be considered for young children but only when non-surgical options fail.

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