Sixty-six percent of Bermuda's adult population is overweight, and 47 percent classified as obese. And according to Terry Faulkenberry of Live Healthy Bermuda, the Island's younger residents aren't far behind one out of every three children between the ages of five and 10 is also overweight.

 

The alarming statistics place the majority of the population at risk for a host of illnesses including Type Two Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and asthma, which can be a financial burden for families and communities.

At the root of the problem is poor diet and the sedentary lifestyle most residents lead today,

   "It's not difficult to look in the grocery store and see all the pre-packaged high sugar fast foods available. And we are inundated with advertisements for this type of food.

   "And how about the checkout line in our grocery stores and lunch time delis? While waiting in line, right in front of you are all the candy bars and junk food.

   "People just don't move as much anymore. We drive everywhere, we take elevators, we use remote controls, and our kid's definition of 'can Johnny come over and play' is very different from when I grew up. Now it's computer games and Playstation. We're not moving."

   The president of the Live Healthy Bermuda Foundation said the organisation recently screened 112 residents.   Nineteen percent were found to be overweight, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9. Forty-seven percent were classified as obese, with a BMI of 30 or higher. Persons with a healthy BMI have a measurement of between 18.5 and 24.9.

   The 2009 Live Healthy Bermuda 100-Day Challenge started about a month ago. Approximately 1,250 adults and 1,500 children have signed up in hopes of raising their fitness levels through the friendly challenge in which their weight and exercise is recorded each week.

   "The enthusiasm has been great. The success stories and sense of accomplishment has been great to hear."

(Report by Tauria Raynor The Royal Gazette)