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If the pounds you dropped in time for summer are working their way back on, there’s a time-tested gadget that might halt the creep. It’s your bathroom scale. Research shows that people who weigh themselves regularly after reaching a goal weight do a much better job of keeping the lost pounds off.
We've celebrated the mothers, now it's time for father's to be paid their due. With less than a week to Father's Day, you're probably pondering what to get the special man in your life especially as you got him soap-on-rope last year, a tie the year before that and crabs the year before that, so you're mulling between maybe a bottle of cologne or the latest gadget. But this year, why not opt to give the special dad in your life the gift of health? This Father's Day what better way to say you love your dad than to take him for an annual physical which will not only be good for his health but ensure that he will be in your life strong and vibrant for years to come.
Ensuring your dad is on top of his health is a timely gift to undertake as men tend to shy away from the doctor's office if they have a choice in the matter, says Dr. Patrick Whitfield, a family medicine practitioner who operates out of Oxford Medical Center.
"It is important to encourage all persons, but men in particular, to get a regular check-up so that a medical professional can assess risks for common conditions that develop among the population," says the doctor. "Although many men may feel that there is nothing wrong with them and delay visiting a physician for as long as possible, in the medical field we practice preventative health which means we like to examine patients before they get sick so that early signs of conditions are picked up. This will in turn ensure that illnesses aren't prolonged or progress too far before treatment is sought. It is very important to get men more aware of their health and well-being because not only in The Bahamas, but universally men live seven to eight years less than their female counterparts and this does not have to be".
The family medicine specialist says that as a loving family member urging your father, no matter his age, to see the family doctor is one of the best ways to show him that you love him. As you will want to see your dad around for many years to come, Dr. Whitfield says helping him take care of his health now is a good gesture to give your dad for Father's Day. But he says when your father makes his doctor visit there are certain things that he should be checked for depending on his age. The doctor said men are screened for illnesses based on their age. He says there are illnesses that are more prevalent in certain decades of life, and that the doctor assesses what he considers are your dad's needs and risk levels, and screens for them.
Men in their 20s and 30s
"This age group is low on the scale for most illnesses so their screening tends to be more so to assess their risk factors due to lifestyle habits and guide them on ways to avoid problems due to lifestyle choices. Men in their 20s don't commonly suffer from things like cancers, heart attacks and strokes, so looking for early signs for these things aren't usually prioritized much in screenings. What you can expect in a screening at this age is a basic full body physical to ensure nothing obvious is wrong physically. Other things like blood pressure, cholesterol and body mass index [BMI] are also checked. It is also important at every age on an annual basis that blood tests for sexually transmitted illnesses are also taken. Your doctor should also take his time to sit and talk about family health history and the normal practices of the patient to further assess risk factors for common illnesses developing in the future so preventative measures can be taken while [your father] is still young."
As long as there are no ongoing health issues or high risk for certain illnesses due to genetics and family history, men, he says, are likely to only have to undergo simple physicals and blood screenings until their 40s when the likelihood of developing certain conditions greatly increases.
Men in their 40s
"While more intense physicals that are undergone more often tend to occur after you are 40 [years of age], it is important not to believe that this means while men are young that they shouldn't be taking care of their health. What happens later in life is greatly determined on how you take care of yourself while young. So simple things like wearing seatbelts to avoid harm in case of a car crash, amount of alcohol consumption, choices of coping mechanisms for dealing with stress, amount of sleep you get at night, and eating and exercising habits are important factors to determine how healthy you are in the years when the likelihood of common lifestyle illnesses developing increases. So even if your father has lived a good life in his youth and is relatively healthy by the age of 40, in addition to the annual physical and blood testing he should still start his screening for cancers of the prostate and colon. If he starts screening at this age any early signs of cancers developing can be caught and treated to avoid greater problems later in life."
Men in their 50s and 60s
In his 50s and into his 60s, your father will continue to have heightened physical examines by his physician, especially as it relates to weight management, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It is during these years when things like heart attacks, strokes and other ailments are more likely to occur says the doctor.
He also says most people tend to overlook updating their immunizations. Dr. Whitfield says it is becoming more common to see older persons suffering from common childhood ailments like chicken pox. To avoid contracting any of those childhood diseases, he said to let your family physician readminister all immunization shots every few years as required.
Men in their 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond
When your dad is in his 70s, in addition to regular check-ups and screenings it is important to have your father checked for ailments such as glaucoma and cataracts if he is diabetic or complains about visual problems. A hearing exam among other tests may also be recommended depending on the growing needs of the patient.
"At the end of the day, screenings are personal due to the needs of the patient and we as physicians can only determine what is needed once the patient comes to us," says the family medicine practitioner. "It is important to get patients to come to see the doctor before they feel ill so that if anything can be done to prevent conditions from developing they are done in time. It is better to prevent than to cure and men need good health just as much as anyone else. So help the men in your life to take care of themselves now so they won't have to worry about it later," says Dr. Whitfield.
Several talented students will start their new academic year off right thanks to Custom Computers Ltd.
After randomly drawing 25 student names from the entries in the “As for Excellence” campaign, the winners of the top three prizes were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements with the latest technological gadgets sure to make project research and writing for school a little sweeter.
Pretty soon, the meteorologists will designate the names and the number of the gathering storms that will inflict their damage on the paradise-like, but fragile and battered Caribbean. Coming from the continent of Africa, the wind that takes strength in its voyage across the Atlantic will become a raging storm that may land either in Mexico or in the United Sates after ravaging several of the islands of the Caribbean, depending on its trajectory.
Yet, I was not thinking about a physical storm in writing this essay; I was instead thinking about that metaphorical storm in which you find a Caribbean saddled not only with a fragile eco-system that stands directly in the path of the hurricanes but also with heavy national debt compared to national GDP - Jamaica 150% of its GDP, Saint Lucia 100% and The Bahamas 50%. Interestingly, the Republic of Haiti, whose national debt has been annulled, is in worse shape than any of the Caribbean islands.
The economic fragility of the region is so pronounced that the IMF characterizes it as standing on a "knife's edge."
Dr. Rolph Balgobin, senator of Trinidad and Tobago, in his article "The Gathering Storm," painted a canvas filled with color that depicts the true picture: the nations of the Caribbean "are living beyond their means in an escalation of crime at all levels of the society, growing drug culture, armed criminals, declining performance in the schools, both in terms of behavior and educational achievement, egos getting in the way, corruption, indiscipline, poor maintenance of infrastructure, declining value systems, weak economic growth, escalating food imports, failure to put limited agricultural land into production, need for political reform, disregard for the rule of law, indifference to the value of life, threats to democracy, failure to effectively police our laws, failure to exploit renewable energy resources, above all, poor leadership in conducting the business of the state."
I would add that the United States and Europe have deserted the Caribbean in their public policies. Enter China first and foremost, with trophy projects such as soccer stadiums. Then the PetroCaribe initiative - the lifeline of Caribbean nations (the Dominican Republic owes $3 billion for its 50,000 barrels per day allocation), rests on the fragile standing of the Maduro government in Venezuela.
A cursory review of most of the newspapers in the Caribbean will reveal each and all the above ills being prominent in the concerns of the citizens and of the national press not only in Trinidad and Tobago but in each one of the islands.
Starting with The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the issue has been the growing criminal behavior amongst the ordinary citizenry that threatens to rock the budding tourist industry in this archipelago. We find also the recurrent illegal migration from Haiti, where both nations as well as the United States have refused to stop the movement at its source with an interdiction on land that would root the future migrants with economic development in their own coastal rural villages.
The Bahamas government is ready to spend $250 million to buy boats and other gadgets to stop the flow of illegal migrants. A portion of the same invested with USAID in rooting the potential migrants in their communities and improving the spirit of the village and the comfort of the city will eliminate the lure of leaving.
This north-south cooperation (United States-Bahamas-Haiti) would be a win-win in every sense. Why such an international agreement between the parties is not on the agenda goes to the issue of poor leadership in the region.
Cuba, still ruled by the Castro brothers and held hostage by the Cuban diaspora in Florida, is misusing the genius of its citizens. I was pleased that I may have had some input into the recent initiative of the Cuban leadership in doubling the salary of Cuban doctors. One week earlier, in the essay "Deconstructing the rising political storm in the Latin American and the Caribbean," I questioned why Cuban doctors should earn only $300 per month merely because it is a dictum of the Castro regime.
The Cuban genie is waiting to be liberated from Florida with the connivance of the Castro brothers for the prosperity of the island and of the Caribbean. A Cuba that adopted the system of state capitalism a la China will unleash the creativity of millions of educated Cubans and will produce a boom not only for Cuba but also for the entire region.
Going further down to Haiti, an emerging democracy is being shaken by the old demons of the Duvalier and Lavalas doctrines that are plunging that country into a misery so bare that Haiti is currently characterized as the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Haiti must reconcile with itself to experience 'le vivre en commun' that will spur the enrichment of the women and of the peasants - the two main engines of the national economy.
Its neighbor that shares the same island of Hispaniola or Ayiti - depending on whether you use the name given by Christopher Columbus or the original name given by the Indians - the Dominican Republic, is embroiled in an international dilemma of denying citizenship to thousands of born residents that have enjoyed citizenship rights and privileges for decades.
The Dominican Republic, albeit already a tourist hot spot, will usher in true development only when it assumes its responsibility of hospitality towards all its residents, whether or not they are citizens of that country.
Jamaica, in spite of its tourists oases such as Ocho Rios and Negril, is rife with criminal behavior that has its roots in the culture of smoking and selling marijuana as a given right transcended to a sector of the population by their so called ancestors.
It is also invaded by criminal returnees from the United States who feed the local criminal culture with ingredients well honed in the American prison system. The natural primacy of the leadership role of Jamaican women needs national and international incubation if it is to serve not only Jamaica but also the neighboring islands.
Puerto Rico, the American satellite, is languishing under heavy debt, political corruption and the culture of welfare from the United States. Its privileged situation has not been used to spur economic development either on the island or in the Caribbean.
The Virgin Islands of St. John and St. Thomas, the American possessions in the Caribbean, to a lesser degree represent the same lethargy observed in Puerto Rico. By transforming themselves into an incubator for education, industry and technology from the United States, the US Virgin Islands could spur growth not only for themselves but also for the non-American islands of the Caribbean.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the cries of your children go all the way to God. With a leader that looks more like Louis XIV than a philosopher king of modern times, the distress of the citizens at home and abroad is visible to the naked eye.
Saint Lucia, that Helena so courted in colonial times, is embroiled in a political skirmish that compromises this ideal setting so prized by the British escapees of the melancholic foggy winter of London. The tourist industry will remain sustainable there and in the rest of the Caribbean only if the nation is hospitable first to its own citizens.
Barbados, this jewel that claims to be the little British isle, is laden with debts that compromise its economic expansion. Still rich enough to face an overweight population, it is using the politics of the ostrich - if Barbados is all right, the rest of the Caribbean can go to hell!
Dominica, the Nature Isle that I am so much in love with is suffering from the spirit of negativity inherited from the French culture. A large portion of its citizens that labor in the Virgin Islands, Barbados or the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, are waiting for a Dominica that knows how to marry an expanding economy with its special status as an ecological preserve to return home. Its government has not made the decision to move forcefully in that fine direction.
A perfect candidate for REED+, the program designed by the UN to compensate regions that use conservation as a means of reducing carbon emissions, Dominica should be rewarded for being a perfect steward of nature, the benefits reverting back to each one of its citizens.
Trinidad and Tobago, so rich and so diverse, you used to be for me the perfect paradise on earth. I need not quote again Dr. Balgobin to paint the presently dark canvas. Suffice to say that Trinidad is looking more and more like Guyana. A nation rich in cultural and mineral resources that could and should lead the Caribbean. Its leadership is seeking a mission that was stamped by the country's founding father. Trinidad and Tobago, go back to that spirit and you will be all right!
Guyana, oh Guyana, I cry for you, Guyana! A land rich in natural resources, in need of additional human resources, is misusing its local resources in a system that keeps the country in de facto bondage and ranks Guyana along with Haiti as the poorest in the Caribbean. Its population of Indian heritage must extend its hand to the black population to form a homogenous nation where the color of skin will make no difference.
In conclusion, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean of the Atlantic, in spite of CARICOM and the ACS, is in need of a common public policy that will keep its citizens happy at home, enjoying this chain of islands that seems to have been created with special care by God. It is almost a lost paradise, with its sand, sun and surf that attract the distressed populations of the United States, Europe and Asia who are in search of clement weather and fleeing from a recurrent frigid winter due to climate change.
A peaceful Caribbean, hospitable first to its own citizens, has only to sell its natural hospitality to the tourists of the world to create a perfect deal that no one will refuse.
o Jean H. Charles LLB, MSW, JD is a syndicated columnist with Caribbean News Now. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org and followed at Caribbeannewsnow/Haiti.
New ProvidenceHEART BALL: The 50th Annual Heart Ball will be held on Saturday, February 15 at the Melia Resort. Cocktails are 7:15 p.m. with dinner at 8:30 p.m.FESTIVAL RUM BAHAMAS: Festival Rum Bahamas, February 21-23 at Fort Charlotte, is an enticing mixture of local, regional and international rum exhibitors. During the three-day festival there will be product sampling, master classes on rum, bartending and cocktail competitions as well as Caribbean music and food. Of course there will be an opportunity to purchase everything that you try. For more information visit rumbahamas.com.WORLD RELAYS: The inaugural (IAAF) International World Relays take place May 24-25 at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium. The event will bring together some of the best athletes in the world and is expected to attract many of the top sprint and middle distance medalists from the 2012 Olympic Games as well as the 2013 IAAF World Championships. For more information visit bahamasworldrelays.org. CHANGING OF THE GUARD: The changing of the guard, a display of Bahamian music and military exercise, takes place each month on the last Thursday and Saturday at 10 a.m. at Government House. The changing of the guard has been a tradition since 1958. The ceremony features the world-renowned Royal Bahamas Police Force Marching Band and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force guards.JAZZ AT THE HILTON: Jazz group Vice Versa, featuring vocalist Naomi Taylor, performs every Tuesday and Thursday at British Colonial Hilton at 6:30 p.m. Grand BahamaCOMEDY SHOW: Love and Laugh Comedy Show featuring Michael Blackson, known as The African King of Comedy from the hit movie "Friday" along with Daddi Whites from Nassau, Stephanie McRae from Comic View, A.G. White from BET's Comic View and Brooklyn Mike from The Chapelle Show and MTV Snaps will take place Saturday, February 22 at the Grand Lucayan Ballroom. Tickets can be purchased at Gizmos and Gadgets, Expression and Musik Lakay.VALENTINE EXHIBITION: Grand Bahama Artists Association's Annual Valentine Art Exhibition takes place February 6-28. Local and international artists gather in the Glory Banks Art Gallery to present their latest eclectic collection of still life, abstracts, island life, sea and landscape works in a variety of mediums. For more information telephone 353-4333 or 352-5438.AbacoFOOD, FOLKS AND FUN: Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, will play host to the first Devour! The Beach festival. It will take place, March 26-29 with culinary events led by international celebrity chefs from Chicago, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Dallas, Ottawa and Halifax. Food and wine lovers will also enjoy sessions hosted by a master of wine from the United Kingdom. Two nights will feature themed gala dinners from classic French cuisine to the pan-American cooking. The days will have various activities for the culinary and wine enthusiast, from fishing and diving, to chef beach cookouts, to wine and culinary demonstrations.LOVE RUSH WEEKEND: The two-day competitive event to be held February 21-22 evokes excitement and passion amongst Bahamians and visitors through the traditional music, costumes and dance that are displayed and paraded by local junior and senior Junkanoo groups. It will begin with the school groups and end with the community groups that are all competing for supremacy on this uniquely Bahamian stage in downtown Marsh Harbour.Acklins HOMECOMING: Salina Point Homecoming celebrations, February 24-27 is an annual reunion for former residents of Salina Point. The event features four days of daytime and nighttime activities, beginning with a float parade from the Spring Point Airport to the settlement of Salina Point. There will be live entertainment, dancing, a fashion show, plus Little Miss and Big Miss Salina Point Beauty Pageants. The festivities close out with a church serve on Sunday at Salina Point Public Park. For more information telephone 464-8521 or 476-0363.AndrosVALENTINE'S DINNER: This Valentine's Dinner/Banquet scheduled for Friday, February 14, will be an evening of music, food and dance hosted in a romantic atmosphere at the Lighthouse Club and Marina in Andros Town. For more information telephone 368-2286.Berry IslandsFISHING TOURNAMENT: The fifth Invitational Wahoo Fishing Tournament will be hosted at the Great Harbour Cay Marina, February 13-15. It includes three consecutive days of social gatherings and fishing. Tickets are available for those persons who would like to participate in the social gatherings only. For more information telephone 367-8005.The ExumasCARNIVAL FAIR: St. Andrew's Carnival Fair, February 20-22, offers three days of activities for the family, with lots of native dishes and pastries on sale. The venue is the softball park in George Town. For more information telephone 336-2120.ART AND CRAFT SHOW: The Yuma Arts Association Art and Craft Show on February 22 will feature locally made crafts including shell, sand and fish scale jewelry, intricate conch shell carvings, paintings and straw products. For more information telephone 336-2435.REGATTA: The George Town Cruising Regatta takes place February 24-March 9. The event includes 12 days of activities for visiting cruisers and Exumians. There will be two days of sailing activities as well as spectacular onshore activities such as conch shell blowing contests, a variety show, softball competition and lots of family activities. The venue is picturesque Elizabeth Harbour in George Town. For more information telephone 336-2430.Long IslandBASKETBALL JAMBOREE: High school students from throughout the islands will compete in the Basketball Jamboree, February 20-22 in Miller's, Long Island. For more information telephone 338-8662 or 472-1538.HOMECOMING: North Long Island's Homecoming Festival takes place February 27-March 2 in Glinton's Park in North Long Island. It features talent and fashion shows by students from schools on the island, a gospel concert, a live native band and lots of food, drinks, games and entertainment for the family.WINTER RECEPTION: The Winter Residents' Reception takes place on Friday, February 28. It is a celebration to express gratitude for the contributions made by the winter residents to the island. For more information telephone 338-8668.Ragged IslandRAGGED ISLAND: Valentine's Day Yachters' Party will take place Saturday, February 15. A highlight of the events calender, the annual get-together on Valentine's weekend, is a party like no other. Residents gather on Hog Cay, weather permitting, for a daylong celebration. The party begins with a Junkanoo rush-out led by students on the Ragged Island All-Age School. There's swimming, music and dancing. Native Bahamian and American dishes are served to satisfy the appetite.Rum CayFESTIVAL: The Rum Cay Day Festival takes place February 21-23 in Port Nelson's historic Milo Butler Heritage Park. The all-day festival is the signature event for Rum Cay. It features a church service, cultural entertainment, Rake and Scrape bands, games, local craft and food and drinks. For more information telephone 331-2828.o To have your event listed in The Hook Up, email your information to email@example.com.