Honduras' Growing Trend of Obesity and How We Are Trying to Change This

By: Nicole Sanders

Honduras is known for their archeological sites, island life, and its mountainous terrain. The mountainous terrain contains thousands of acres of agriculture. Around 40% of Hondurans work in the agriculture industry (This is Honduras).  According to the AFS-USA, the typical Honduran diet plan consists of starches, fresh fruit, and meat usually in a Caribbean-style dish. However, in recent years, there has been an increase in diets high in refined carbohydrates, saturated fats and sugars. This combined with a more sedentary lifestyle, is a major contributor to the increase in overweight and chronic diseases (World Bank Nutrition Resources).

While researching at the Manos Amigas Clinic, I interviewed over 30 patients in three days. These patients had illnesses ranging from high blood pressure in adults to tonsillitis in children. However many of the patients presented either underweight or overweight, which was concerning to me.

One of the doctors and I tried to convince a 14-year-old girl that being severely overweight is the cause for her health problems and that she needed to start eating better and exercising more. Unfortunately, she refused to take the doctor’s advice. She said that she was fine with her body.

According to the doctors, this incident happens often at the clinic. The doctors try to convince patients to begin a healthier diet and the patient refuses because they do not see anything wrong with how they look. The doctors are not concerned with how a patient looks; they are concerned because a patient who is overweight has a high risk of developing health conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleeping disorders (CDC). 

The clinic staff has placed posters around the clinic on healthy eating and continues to discuss the importance of proper nutrition with the patients. The staff would like to develop a more formal nutrition education program in the near future.