• Overview
  • Obesity prevalence
  • Population breakdowns
  • Drivers
  • Comorbidities
  • Health systems
  • Actions
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Obesity prevalence

Adults, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
Sample size:1234
Area covered:National
References:Health of The Nation Survey, Barbados 2015. http://www.archive.healthycaribbean.org/newsletters/aug-2015/CDRC_HealthOfTheNationSurvey.pdf
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Adults, 1991

Age:20+
Sample size:Not Specified
References:FAO Nutrition Country Profile the Barbados 2002
Notes:This survey did not give the specified age range of the Adults selected.
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Children, 2011

Survey type:Self-reported
Age:13-15
References:Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS), available at https://www.cdc.gov/gshs/countries/index.htm (last accessed 28.04.20)
Notes:WHO cutoffs.
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 2010

Survey type:Measured
Age:8-11
Sample size:580
Area covered:Subnational
References:Fernandez MA, Kubow S, Gray-Donald K, Knight J and Gaskin PS.2015. Drastic increases in overweight and obesity from 1981 to 2010 and related risk factors: results from the Barbados Children's Health and Nutrition Study. Public Health Nutr. 18(17)/ pp. 3070-7.
Notes:WHO cut offs used (IOTF cut-offs also available but Overweight and obese not separate)
Cutoffs:WHO

Children, 1981

Survey type:Measured
Age:5-9
Sample size:Not specified
References:FAO Nutrition Profile Barbados. August 2003. FAO, Rome, Italy.
Notes:See paper for cut-off details
Cutoffs:Other

Overweight/obesity by age

Adults, 2011

Survey type:Measured
Sample size:1234
Area covered:National
References:Health of The Nation Survey, Barbados 2015. http://www.archive.healthycaribbean.org/newsletters/aug-2015/CDRC_HealthOfTheNationSurvey.pdf (last accessed 16.07.2019)
Unless otherwise noted, overweight refers to a BMI between 25kg and 29.9kg/m², obesity refers to a BMI greater than 30kg/m².

Insufficient physical activity

Adults, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Men, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Women, 2016

References:Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1.9 million participants. Lancet 2018 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(18)30357-7

Children, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Boys, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Girls, 2010

Age:11-17
References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A893?lang=en
Notes:% of school going adolescents not meeting WHO recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, i.e. doing less than 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity daily.
Definitions:% Adolescents insufficiently active (age standardised estimate)

Estimated per-capita fruit intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita fruit intake (g/day)

Estimated per-capita processed meat intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita processed meat intake (g per day)

Estimated per-capita whole grains intake

Adults, 2017

Survey type:Measured
Age:25+
References:Global Burden of Disease, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation http://ghdx.healthdata.org/
Definitions:Estimated per-capita whole grains intake (g/day)

Mental health - depression disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with depression disorders

Mental health - anxiety disorders

Adults, 2015

References:Prevalence data from Global Burden of Disease study 2015 (http://ghdx.healthdata.org) published in: Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates. Geneva:World Health Organization; 2017. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.
Definitions:% of population with anxiety disorders

Oesophageal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, oesophagus, adults ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Breast cancer

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, breast, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Colorectal cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, colorectum, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Pancreatic cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, pancreas, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Gallbladder cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, gallbladder, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Kidney cancer

Men, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, kidney, adults, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Cancer of the uterus

Women, 2018

Age:20+
References:Global Cancer Observatory, Cancer incidence rates http://gco.iarc.fr/ (last accessed 30th June 2020)
Definitions:Estimated age-standardized incidence rates (World) in 2018, cervix uteri, females, ages 20+. ASR (World) per 100,000

Raised blood pressure

Adults, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Men, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Women, 2015

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A875?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised estimated % Raised blood pressure 2015 (SBP>=140 OR DBP>=90).

Raised cholesterol

Adults, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Men, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Women, 2008

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A885
Definitions:% Raised total cholesterol (>= 5.0 mmol/L) (age-standardized estimate).

Raised fasting blood glucose

Men, 2014-2019

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Women, 2014-2019

References:Global Health Observatory data repository, World Health Organisation, http://apps.who.int/gho/data/node.main.A869?lang=en
Definitions:Age Standardised % raised fasting blood glucose (>= 7.0 mmol/L or on medication).

Diabetes prevalence

Adults, 2017

References:Reproduced with kind permission of IDF, International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edition. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org
Definitions:Diabetes age-adjusted comparative prevalence (%).

Health systems

Economic classification: High Income

Health systems summary

Barbados technically has universal health care coverage that covers all citizens and approved permanent residents. The government is the main provider of health services, with the public system paid for by general taxation so that the care is provided free at the point of delivery. The island has 2 major hospitals, a government-run one that is affiliated with the University of the West Indies (Queen Elizabeth Hospital) and a smaller private one (Bayview Hospital). The hospitals are supported by public polyclinics that provide treatment for minor ailments. Despite the existence of the public system, out of pocket expenditure constitutes a significant proportion of the total health expenditure (39%). One study found that out of pocket expenditure is mostly spent on ambulatory care in the private sector.

The Barbadian health system is challenged by the high prevalence of non-communicable diseases and its ageing population; it is estimated that one in four adults have at least one chronic disease.

Indicators

Where is the country’s government in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?Some progress
Where is the country’s healthcare provider in the journey towards defining ‘Obesity as a disease’?No
Is there specialist training available dedicated to the training of health professionals to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage obesity?No
Have any taxes or subsidies been put in place to protect/assist/inform the population around obesity?Yes
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in urban areas?No
Are there adequate numbers of trained health professionals in specialties relevant to obesity in rural areas?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for adults?No
Are there any obesity-specific recommendations or guidelines published for children?Some progress
In practice, how is obesity treatment largely funded?Out of pocket

Perceived barriers to treatment

  • Cultural norms and traditions
  • Lack of political will, interest and action
  • High cost of out of pocket payments
  • Poor health literacy and behaviour
  • Social determinants of health
  • Lack of opportunity for physical activity
  • Obesity not recognised as a disease
  •   Food industry influence
  • Focus on treatment rather than prevention

Summary of stakeholder feedback

Although obesity is not yet considered a disease, it is acknowledged that increased efforts around prevention are being talked about. There is particular focus on childhood obesity across the country, with a Childhood Obesity Prevention Programme recently being introduced. Other than this programme, there are reported to be no other prevention initiatives in place other than the tax on sweetened beverages.

There is little recognition of obesity as a disease within the health system too. There are no weight management programmes and no government endorsed treatment protocols available. It is claimed that there is a maximum of one specialist obesity physician in the whole country, and most agreed that treatment was generally only given when there were complications and comorbidities. Treatment for obesity itself is extremely rare and is mostly paid for out of pocket, except for lifestyle and behavioural treatment which, it appears, limited government funding is available for.

Stakeholders noted that there is a national strategy for non-communicable diseases, however, it was also noted that obesity was not targeted within it.

Based on interviews/survey returns from 4 stakeholders

Last updated: June 2020

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Actions

Childhood Obesity Prevention Programme

The Heart & Stroke Foundation of Barbados launched this Childhood Obesity Prevention website as part of their Childhood Obesity Prevention (COP) Programme. COP which started in 2018 aims to address the alarming rates of childhood obesity in Barbados. The programme focuses on developing mass media campaigns to increase awareness of the health risks connected to consuming sugary drinks regularly. COP also promotes policy change which can help to secure sustainable changes regarding Childhood obesity.

Categories:Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Non-national obesity strategies
Year(s):2018 (ongoing)
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados
Find out more:healthykidsbarbados.org

Too Much Junk

In May 2018, the HCC launched the CSO Regional Action Team for Childhood Obesity Prevention including key members of civil society in eight countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, and St Kitts Nevis. Together, these organisations have shared materials and best practices in an effort to increase the public awareness around Childhood Obesity and its prevention and to garner thousands of signatures of support for the policies proposed in the HCC’s Call to Action at www.toomuchjunk.org.

Categories:Transnational Obesity Strategies/Policy or Action Plan
Categories (partial):Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Evidence of Community Interventions/Campaign
Year(s):2018
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Health Caribbean Coalition
Find out more:www.healthycaribbean.org

Sugar tax

A 10% tax will apply to all carbonated soft drinks, sports drinks, sweetened fruit juices, and juice drinks. The aim of this tax is to encourage people living in Barbados to consume less sugar._x000D__x000D_ _x000D__x000D_ Link to the NCD Alliance document - The Implementation of Taxation on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages_x000D__x000D_ by the Government of Barbados is included below

Categories:Taxation/Subsidies on Food or Beverages or law relating to public health
Year(s):2015 (ongoing)
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:Government
Find out more:extranet.who.int
Linked document:Download linked document
References:foodnavigator-latam.com (n.d.) “Important consequences for public health”: Is Barbados’ sugar tax increasing sugar intake? [Online]. foodnavigator-latam.com. Available from: https://www.foodnavigator-latam.com/Article/2019/02/08/Important-consequences-for-public-health-Is-Barbados-sugar-tax-increasing-sugar-intake.

Barbados Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2015-2019

To reduce the preventable and avoidable burden of morbidity, mortality and disability due to non-communicable diseases through inter-sectoral collaboration and cooperation To promote supportive environments to encourage healthy lifestyles and reduce risk factorsfor NCDs To establish, implement, monitor and evaluate standards for NCD treatment and care so that patients living with NCDs have their risk factors controlled to target and receive evidenced based

Categories:Evidence of NCD strategy
Year(s):2014-2019
Target age group:Adults and children
Organisation:National NCD commision- Barbados Ministry of Health
Find out more:extranet.who.int
Linked document:Download linked document
References:To reduce the preventable and avoidable burden of morbidity, mortality and disability due to non-communicable diseases through inter-sectoral collaboration and cooperation To promote supportive environments to encourage healthy lifestyles and reduce risk factorsfor NCDs To establish, implement, monitor and evaluate standards for NCD treatment and care so that patients living with NCDs have their risk factors controlled to target and receive evidenced based

National Plan of Action for Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control

Goal: The ultimate goal is to reverse the upward trends in obesity by 5% by 2019 Objectives: To improve increase exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months by 20% by 2019; To reduce prevalence of low physical activity in adolescents by 30%; To develop and implement policies and regulations to reduce the impact on children of marketing of foods and non- alcoholic beverages high in saturated fats, trans fatty acids, free sugars or salt; and To have at least 70 schools designated Health Promoting Schools by 2019 (Appendix 2).

Categories (partial):Evidence of National Obesity Strategy/Policy or Action
Evidence of Nutritional or Health Strategy/ Guidelines/Policy/Action plan
Evidence of Physical Activity Guidelines/Policy
Year(s):2014-2018
Target age group:Children
Organisation:Ministry of Health
Find out more:extranet.who.int
Linked document:Download linked document
References:Anon (2015) National Plan of Action for Childhood Obesity Prevention and Control (2015-2018) Barbados-Childhood Obesity Prevention Program (B-CHOPP). [Online]. Available from: https://extranet.who.int/nutrition/gina/sites/default/files/BRB%202015%20National%20Plan%20of%20Action%20for%20Childhood%20Obesity.pdf [Accessed: 7 July 2020]. ‌

No actions could be found for the above criteria.

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