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Feb 28, 2013

Healthy Living helps couch potatoes leave the room

The rise in non communicable diseases, or what some people call lifestyle diseases has been an area of concern for most health professionals in Belize. Diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol are only a few of the common non communicable diseases that we hear about so often. The Ministry of Health and several other health organizations have been continuously sounding the alarm about the lifestyle choices of Belizeans. Tonight’s Healthy Living focuses on getting active, specifically finding out just how active we should be.


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

Think about it? How much time did you spend moving today? Are you moving right now? Chances are you’re not. Belizeans, like many others worldwide are far more inactive than human beings were in the past. You’re probably sitting right now as you watch this newscast. But did you know that lack of activity goes against what your body is designed to do?


Evelyn Roldan, Nutritionist, INCAP/PAHO

Evelyn Roldan

“It’s important to remember that our bodies were made to move, but we have so much technology now that we don’t need to do anymore but our bodies were designed for move to walk run, hunt, we don’t do that anymore.”


Evelyn Roldan is a nutritionist and the coordinator for the institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) in Belize and works with the international health organization PAHO. She explains why lack of activity is such health concern.


Evelyn Roldan

“Non-communicable disease are increasing, chronic non communicable disease are the ones you cannot catch. Diabetes, hypertension, cancer; other cardiovascular disease.  You cannot get this from another person. But you can get it through your habits—your eating habits and also your physical activity habits. Now usually you catch a taxi to go to work, but the good thing is that is still see people in Belize that walk or ride bicycles that’s a food thing but it’s important to remember that you have to move.”


Having a sedentary lifestyle, not having enough physical activity, is a danger to health.


Evelyn Roldan

“It is important to know the difference between sedentary, activity and what kinds of physical activity and a difference with sport.  We don’t have to play a sport to have exercise we just have to move sometimes cleaning your garden, cleaning your house – you are moving. WHO states as being active is more than 30 minutes per day and this adds up to three and a half hours a week. What you can do is maybe I didn’t have time to work out today, so I didn’t do my thirty minutes today so maybe I do an hour today but don’t leave it until Sunday because you won’t be able do three and a half hours and you’ll probably collapse after thirty minutes.”


Evelyn’s advice is to pace yourself.  Split the thirty minutes if necessary but make sure the physical activity is enough to elevate your heart rate.


Evelyn Roldan

“You don’t get to that point where you’re working out just like that if I walk from here to over there I moved its true but it doesn’t make a difference. What makes a difference is that you have to move more than ten or fifteen minutes a session. So for instance its thirty minutes a day—fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the afternoon. But it has to be more than ten minutes otherwise it won’t raise your heart rate. “


Marleni Cuellar

“Does it matter what age you are or how much activity you should be doing?”


Evelyn Roldan

“It matters. We call kids and teenagers from ten to seventeen they should be doing more exercise. Sixty minutes a day. They are growing are more active and sometimes they don’t and you start to see teenagers getting overweight same with children. When we reach eighteen the recommendation is thirty minutes.”


Marleni Cuellar

“And elderly persons?”


Evelyn Roldan

“Yes, thirty minutes.”


There is still much more investigation that has to be done to understand how our lifestyle choices are affecting our health. INCAP is about to embark on one such research with a group of universities and Belmopan children and their families.


Evelyn Roldan

“Right now INCAP we’re doing a research in Belmopan, Harvard University and University of Michigan since cardiovascular diseases are rising we don’t really have a clear idea of what is causing it so we want to research that dietary factors in children of Mesoamerica and their parents to test what is causing them to be overweight obese or have a cardiovascular diseases, send samples to Harvard—it could be nails hair, fat, saliva and you find out how this affects the nutritional status.”


With or without a study, if getting healthy is your goal then this is the easiest way to start.


Evelyn Roldan

“You will increase the quality of life…not a gym addict…at least to be healthy.”


The Study of Dietary Factors will require 30 children volunteers and their parents from the Belmopan area; specifically from the Garden City, Adventist, Nazarene and Maya Mopan Schools. Interested parents can check with the principal for more information.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Healthy Living helps couch potatoes leave the room”

  1. Bear says:

    Exercise needs to be combined with a SCIENCE-BASED healthy diet, which requires actual knowledge of nutrition, etc. Personally, I’m a huge fan of the nutritional program and advice at . I really wish we could get Dr. John McDougall to come here and teach our health practitioners, parents, etc. about science-based nutrition.

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