The Dynamics of Globalization and Non-Communicable Disease Risk in a Sample of Culturally Diverse Belizeans

By Julia Watkins, Catherine Christie, Judith Rodriguez, Margarita Torres and Kerri Brown.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The purpose of the current study was to assess the prevalence of non-communicable disease risk factors in a sample from Belize Central America. Non-communicable disease has become the leading cause of mortality in Latin American and Caribbean countries, principally cardiovascular disease (CVD). Emergent epidemiological and nutrition transition is associated with increased risk for CVD. Within Belize this transition is in part due to globalization of the food supply, and divergence from Belizean food guidelines. Cross-sectional survey research was employed in a convenience sample (n=112) of residents in the city of San Ignácio, Belize. Racial and ethnic characteristics were 33.0% “Mestizo” (n=37), 19.6% “Mixed” (n=22), 17.0% “Creole” (n=19), 15.2% “Other”, (n=17), 7.1% “Mayan” (n=8), 3.6% “Mennonite” (n=4), and 1.8% (n=2) each for “Garifuna” and “White”. A modified survey from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Belizean Food Guide Pyramid assessed cardiovascular disease risk factors, dietary patterns and perceived health status. Chi-Square cross tabulations were performed to describe the sample. On average greater than 75% (n=82) of participants reported not meeting the dietary guidelines set forth by the Belizean Food Guide Pyramid. Of participants with a history of screening for hypertension (n=88), hypercholesterolemia (n=45) or diabetes (n=37) the results showed prevalence rates of 11.4%, 26.7% and 13.5% respectively. The findings indicated 91% (n=102) of the sample reported either chronic health issues or poor health status. These preliminary results suggest further research is needed to understand the globalization of the food supply and its impact on the health of Belizeans.

Keywords: Belize, Globalization, Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors, Food Patterns, Non-Communicable Diseases

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.35-46. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.138MB).

Dr. Julia Watkins

Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

My MPH and PhD were earned in the field of Public Health with a focus on pyschosocial and behavioral correlates risk factors for disease. The majority of my research has been on weight disorders. I have been involved in multiple study abroad projects in the country of Belize Central America. I hope to use my Public Health background to improve the health of this emerging country. Further, within my own country (USA) I am involved in multiple studies regarding the Metabolic Syndrome in minorities.

Dr. Catherine Christie

Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Dr. Judith Rodriguez

Professor, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Margarita Torres

University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Kerri Brown

Student, Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, USA


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