The study, which is set to commence during the week of January 25, 2015, will focus on Barbadians between the ages of 20 and 70 who were diagnosed within the last six years.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Joy St John, speaking at the launch of the Diabetes Reversal, said diabetes remained a significant public health challenge in the country despite the efforts of the Diabetes Association of Barbados and the Diabetes Foundation of Barbados over the years.
“Diabetes has a prevalence rate in the adult population in excess of 18 per cent, and current evidence indicates that the prevalence has increased over the last five to six years by two percentage points.”
The Chief Medical Officer was pleased that this new study focused on nutrition, and she revealed that “in Barbados, nutrition is one of the most challenging areas associated with risk for the development of non-communicable diseases”.
“The Barbadian diet is frequently too high in salt, sugar and fat; with a high percentage of calories coming from carbohydrate sources. Furthermore, fruit and vegetable consumption, although showing some slight improvement, remains low. It is believed that these factors may be contributing to the heavy chronic disease burden, including diabetes, hypertension and some cancers,” she said.
Officials here say that one of the main drivers of the high prevalence of diabetes in Barbados was the level of obesity in the population, with an estimated two-thirds of all adult Barbadians and 30 per cent of boys and girls attending secondary schools either overweight and/or obese.
The Diabetes Reversal Study will be funded by the Virgin Unite Group, which is a non-profit organisation founded by Sir Richard Branson.