Top job: Kevin Betsy is the new Under 23-team coach at Arsenal
12th August 2021
Congratulations have been pouring in from all over the world after Kevin Betsy took up a new job managing the Under 23-team at top London football club, Arsenal.Seychellois-born Kevin, 43, had previou... more...
Campaigners for Press freedom: Lewis Betsy, left, and Bernard Verlaque
29th June 2021
By Lewis Betsy From the moment I left Seychelles on 1st April, 1980, and then settled in the UK, my thoughts have always turned to the same thing: the vital need for Seychelles to have a free Pre... more...
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy The 29th June has always been an important day for me and for my beloved Seychelles. The independence of our nation from Britain on that day in 1976 was a turning point ... more...
Sharing the same dream: Lewis Betsy and Georges Bibi
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy I recently met up for a fascinating chat about sport with Georges Bibi, my long-time footballing friend and now chief executive officer of the Seychelles Football Federation.... more...
Testimony: Lewis Betsy states his case at a Commission hearing in 2019
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission hearings in Seychelles are turning into a farce.This is not easy for me to say as I am a complainant and want the comm... more...
Assured performance: President Ramkalawan at the May Press conference
14th May 2021
 By Lewis Betsy President Ramkalawan has always had his critics, but it was a surprise to me to hear hostile comments made by some who I thought would be sympathetic to him.I talk to a lot o... more...
Honoured: Paul D’Offay, left, Felicity Passon and Joel Melanie with their shields
14th May 2021
By Lewis Betsy Seychelles Life is always keen to encourage the positive side in our society and three Seychellois have today earned our respect and admiration.Felicity Passon, Joel Melanie and Pa... more...
Committed to the task: Alain St Ange relishes his new role
13th April 2021
Alain St Ange, the much-acclaimed former Tourism Minister for Seychelles and who as leader of the One Seychelles opposition party came third when he contested the Presidential election in October 2020... more...

Obesity, the huge Western crisis now threatening the health of people in Seychelles

17th October 2014

Big problem: Obesity is affecting more people in Seychelles
Big problem: Obesity is affecting more people in Seychelles

By John Lablache

Though among the smallest islands in the world, a thousand miles from anywhere, Seychelles' health pattern is more similar to those of large Western countries.

Over the past couple of decades, obesity has become a major concern and is closely linked to the three main death causes; diabetes, cardio vascular diseases and cancer.

Obesity is largely blamed on improper eating habits of Seychellois, especially the younger generation who prefer eating fast foods, notably chips or fries, burgers, and tinned food, rather than fish and vegetables as was the case for their forefathers.

The prevalence of diabetes and obesity were assessed from a sample of 1078 individuals living on Mahe in 2007.

It was five-fold higher in women – 21 per cent , compared to men – 4.2 per cent.

In women, it increased from 8.9 per cent in the age category 25-34 to 29.4 per cent in the  35-44 age range before levelling thereafter.

Prevalence of diabetes increased markedly with age: from .0.8per cent at age 25-34 to 8.8 per cent and 13.4 per cent at age 55-64 in men and women respectively.

Male life expectancy, according to the Seychelles Health Ministry, is pegged at 68 years for women, while for women , it stands at 78 years.

About 20 per cent of mortality in Seychelles is caused by cancer and research has shown  that many types are more common in people who are overweight or obese.

These include cancer of the breast (especially after menopause) cervix, oesophageal (food pipe), pancreatic, kidney, gall bladder, colon and rectum. The list includes two of the commonest types of cancer: breast and bowel and three of the hardest to treat : pancreatic, oesophagal and gall bladder.

Being overweight can increase the risk of cancer because fat tissues in the body produce hormones which are growth factors that can affect the way our cells work.

When people are overweight and obese, there is much more insulin present in the body. It is not clear how this can lead to cancer, although high insulin levels are a common factor in many cancers.

The alarming situation had prompted Miss Seychelles 2014 to launch a campaign to curb obesity, especially among children.

Camila Estico said: “I will sensitise people on obesity problems and the risks that the condition poses to their health, by engaging in education campaigns  to minimize tendencies of unhealthy living.”

Camila, who keeps a healthy diet regime and eats local products, has put time and effort into the issue and sought support from everyone during organised visits to private business and state institutions.

Dr Danny Louange, the deputy CEO of  Seychelles Health Agency, also blames bad diet for the islands' worsening health problems.

In 1994, there were just four patients suffering from kidney failure and requiring chemo- dialysis. In 2014, there are more than 100, with 17 new patients  this year.

He said: “There are unhealthy eating habits, such as abuse of carbohydrates and sweet foods, which cause the sugar level to go up. There is also a tendency to consume more fast foods with a high content of preservatives. And for many people, there is also abuse of alcohol, which affects vital organs.”

Orthopaedics also blame obesity for spinal problems, including lower back pains. In recent years, the number of Seychellois suffering from bad lower backs and requiring surgery has increased significantly.

“It has long been known that a rise in body weight results in a geometric increase in the pressure on the spine. This causes a wearing away of the spinal discs' outer fibres, increasing the risk of injury,” said a local orthopaedic expert.

He adds that adults aren't the only ones at risk, either. Obesity also affects the health of children's joints. So, encouraging children to be active and achieve or maintain an appropriate body weight for their age and height may go a long way toward helping them to avoid such ailments as arthritis later in life.

According to Dr Louange , the good news is that small changes to lifestyle can lead to a reduction in bodyweight. He suggested sticking to a more balanced diet, free of carbohydrates and fats and going for regular exercise.

“The day-to-day choices we make about our lifestyle have the greatest effect on our weight and health,” he said.

Latest News

Praise from across the globe as Seychellois-born football star Kevin Betsy takes key job at Arsenal
12th August 2021
Top job: Kevin Betsy is the new Under 23-team coach at Arsenal
Congratulations have been pouring in from all over the world after Kevin Betsy took up a new job… more...
Seychelles Life will offer a new voice for the people of our islands… one that will promote unity and compassion
29th June 2021
Campaigners for Press freedom: Lewis Betsy, left, and Bernard Verlaque
By Lewis Betsy From the moment I left Seychelles on 1st April, 1980, and then settled in the… more...
Why celebrating Independence Day is more vital than ever after the havoc caused by Covid
25th June 2021
 By Lewis Betsy The 29th June has always been an important day for me and for my beloved… more...
All systems go for kick-off in August, says Bibi
25th June 2021
Sharing the same dream: Lewis Betsy and Georges Bibi
 By Lewis Betsy I recently met up for a fascinating chat about sport with Georges Bibi,… more...
I appeal to the President: don’t let the Truth Commission hearings end in failure
25th June 2021
Testimony: Lewis Betsy states his case at a Commission hearing in 2019
 By Lewis Betsy The Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission hearings in Seychelles… more...
President Ramkalawan is under-fire – but he showed his critics who’s boss
14th May 2021
Assured performance: President Ramkalawan at the May Press conference
 By Lewis Betsy President Ramkalawan has always had his critics, but it was a surprise… more...
Salute to the three Seychellois heroes who are setting a superb example to us all
14th May 2021
Honoured: Paul D’Offay, left, Felicity Passon and Joel Melanie with their shields
By Lewis Betsy Seychelles Life is always keen to encourage the positive side in our society… more...
I have quit politics and look forward to my new challenge, says Alain St Ange
13th April 2021
Committed to the task: Alain St Ange relishes his new role
Alain St Ange, the much-acclaimed former Tourism Minister for Seychelles and who as leader of the… more...
September's News
News Archive