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Health in Colombia: The chronic disease burden

dianagosalvez Diana Gosálvez Prados last modified 9/03/2012 11:37

Description as the original source: Dr. Aida Lebbos Saad hatched the idea while working as a pediatrician in an upscale private clinic within Colombia’s capital city of Bogota. She’d noticed that children from wealthy families were changing — by ballooning.

As Colombia’s economy surged, it seemed the children of the privileged were becoming heavier and unhealthier, as a result of richer diets, sedentary lifestyles and decreased physical activity.

She sensed a business opportunity: a health centre for affluent Colombian kids. The notion was reinforced when the results of a 2010 national nutrition survey indicated that over a five-year period, there had been a 10% increase in the number of overweight and obese Colombians, including children. Some 25% of children aged 5–17 had excess body mass. In some parts of the country, that tally was as high as 31%, roughly equivalent to childhood obesity rates in the United States, which have been labelled epidemic.

“The data convinced me that affluent kids in Colombia face the same health problems as kids in rich countries, where childhood obesity opens the path to chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension later in life,” Lebbos says. “That’s why I quit my clinical job to start a fitness centre for kids.”  

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