Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Attention Government of Guyana

Anyone out there know anyone high up in the Guyanese government? They need some help.

According to the Guyanese Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, obesity is becoming a problem over there. An article in the Stabroek News has Dr. Ramsammy quoted regarding their new crisis as well as provides some context for it.

Context wise, turns out just as in North America, it is abnormal in Guyana for someone to have a healthy body weight with 53% of the population being overweight or obese. The survey also revealed that in urban areas 68% of the populace ate out daily.

Their survey also looked at calories. Apparently the Guyanese' average daily caloric intake is 2,849, up from 2,269 in 1963.

Perhaps not so surprisingly given what seems to be a global culture of fear surrounding the talk of calories the Guyanese government's response to their new found crisis is to ignore the calories and instead to promote two things:

  1. Increased physical fitness
  2. Consuming more than 400grams of fruit and vegetables daily
Um, Minister of Health Ramsammy, do you have an inkling how much exercise a person would have to do to burn the additional 600 or so Calories a day they're now consuming? That's of course also assuming that the estimates are correct, and given that 68% of your urban population eat out daily, and that restaurant food is pretty much always underestimated calorically, that's a stretch. So back to the question, 600 Calories burned = how much exercise?

Well, for mild exercise (walking, gardening etc) it'd be anywhere between 2 and 3 hours daily. Moderate exercise up to 2 hours and intense exercise between 1 and 1.5 hours daily.

Shame though that in your recommendations you've actually suggested to the population that they should strive in fact to eat more not less. Did you know that fruit had calories in it too?

If there were a way to buy obesity futures in Guyana, I'd be calling my broker as I type.