The use of a nutrition-specific diet as a means of reversing glucose intolerance in persons living with Type 2 diabetes, is the focus of a new study which will be undertaken in Barbados.

This was disclosed when a team from Virgin Unite, led by British businessman, Sir Richard Branson, met with members of the Ministry of Health and key players from the Barbados healthcare sector, at the official launch of the Diabetes Reversal Study on Saturday.

The launch was held at the headquarters of the Barbados Diabetes Association, Beckles Road, St. Michael. 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.

Speaking at the launch, Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, alluded to the fact that diabetes remained a significant public health challenge in Barbados, although the Diabetes Association of Barbados and the Diabetes Foundation of Barbados had been dedicated to providing the public with various healthcare promotion programmes over the years.

She noted: ???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 reasoned.

It was also pointed out 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. Persons interested in volunteering may contact Dr. Karen Bynoe at 266-5673, or email

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