Belize Observes World Diabetes Day with Conference on Healthy Living and Diabetes Care

Belize Observes World Diabetes Day with Conference on Healthy Living and Diabetes Care

It’s World Diabetes Day. While this may not be a day that is celebrated, it can be a day that is used to advocate the importance of healthy eating and lifestyle. Today, a conference was hosted by the Belize Diabetes Association in partnership with Belize City Lions Club to provide education and access to diabetes care. President of Belize Diabetes Association, Lynette Valerio spoke of the importance of diabetes awareness in Belize. 

Lynette Valerio, President, Belize Diabetes Association:“Today we’re having our 2023 Diabetes conference. So we had invited schools, primary schools, teachers and students to join us in addition to our members who are living with diabetes and we had invited the general public. So we feel that diabetes is something that we need to bring more awareness because we find that there are a lot of people who are developing the condition and some people are not taking care of themselves and so they end up having complications from diabetes. Diabetes is one of those conditions that will affect your eyes, your teeth, your heart, your kidneys and some people end up with lower limbs amputation. So we feel there has to be more education on this condition because many times people’s bodies adjust and they have high or elevate glucose levels and they don’t realize complications that high glucose can bring to them. And so we feel that there needs to be a lot more education so that people can become aware and know the deadly complications that diabetes can have. So today we had a lineup of several doctors talking about diabetes and the complications. So diabetes and the heart, diabetes and the kidneys and we also had a nutritionist from the Ministry of Health and Wellness who spoke about nutrition and preventative measures. So we find that people need to know what are the preventative measures and see dietary changes to their diet because those are the main cause of diabetes, our eating habits we tend to eat a lot of unhealthy food, we eat big portions of food and sometimes we work too long that we don’t have time to exercise. So we find out that because we are not exercising, because of our eating habits and not preparing nutritious and healthy diets we end up developing diabetes. And so we find that once people become a bit educated perhaps they have some lifestyle changes and perhaps delay complications from diabetes or people who are not living with the condition can take note and delay diabetes. Diabetes is something that we really need to pay attention to and in order for us to achieve to having a population where we grow into adulthood healthy we need to start from very young and educate everybody to have lifestyle changes.”

While diabetics are encouraged to practice a healthy diet, non-diabetics are also encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle for preventative measures. De la Fuente’s Pharmacy provided health education, blood pressure and glucose level tests, as well as HIV tests. District Health Educator Angelique Reyes says Orange Walk residents suffer from diabetes because of their lifestyle. 

Angelique Reyes, District Health Educator: “Here in Orange Walk we do have a lot of people suffering from diabetes mainly because of the lifestyle or the way that we choose to eat. Every morning sometimes you see persons with their tacos and the first thing you notice is their coke or their natural juice that has a lot of sugar inside of it. So my job is to work with the community health workers. We mainly have community health workers in every village that assist us in taking blood pressure and glucose levels for the persons of the community and with those reports we can say that indeed there is a lot of persons with diabetes here in Orange Walk.”

While dietary changes should be made for a healthy lifestyle, this can be challenging for diabetics especially since Christmas season is approaching. Dr. Fernando Cuellar provides advice for diabetics during the holiday season. 

Dr. Fernando Cuellar, Internist: “I don’t eat rice so the rice and beans is out. I can eat my turkey, a little slice of ham, a small portion of the the potato salad but you can enjoy your Christmas eating as healthy as that. Of course no black cake at least not in the traditional way that we eat it. You could take a little pinch, you can taste it but cakes will be out. No Rum Popo unless you make your special Rum Popo but you can enjoy Christmas without being unhealthy.” 

The theme for today’s world diabetic day was centered on educating today, to protect tomorrow.

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