The Ministry of Health has begun discussions to address obesity in Belize. Dr. Francis Murray, Deputy Director of Health Services is the focal point for the development of a national strategic plan. He explained the objectives of the work towards sensitizing the Belizean population on obesity.
Dr. Francis Murray, Deputy Director of Health Services: “The purpose of today is to sensitize stakeholders and by stakeholders, I mean individuals from other members of ministries and departments within the ministry of health and outside and also incorporates ministry of education, the Bureau of standards, the private sector, the media. Other nutritionists which are the private sector form the ministry of health. BAHA the Ministry of Agriculture. Any person that has to do with food consumption and stimulating and advocating our population for the living a healthy lifestyle. Our culture is a culture that we consume foods that are of low nutritious value and are high calories. I would say ok drinks that are saturated in sugar and yet we sit down and don’t exercise and of course we are saying that part of obesity is just one of the risk factors to the government of diabetes. High blood pressure, Phonic Renal Failure and other cancers that are plaguing our society and so these are some of the main causes in which the ministry of health and other partners have said ok we need to take a stance we need to build a plan. We need to start by developing a strategic plan where we go from here then have the various line items that will be identified in the near future. The development will basically say how much we need to educate our community and get the involvement of other stakeholders because the ministry of health may be involved in planning and educating our mothers for e.g. to breastfeed because of the value of breastfeeding but when he goes to the school and the school needs to educate and child and say okay you need to exercise regularly and develop exercise programs on a regular basis. They need to allocate the areas on which the child may exercise or the persons exercise feels safe and secure. Our leaders within the communities and the cities, for example, need to identify spaces in which individuals feel safe to exercise.”