Bush admits need to improve own health

| 23/11/2011

Premier Morgan Henry (220x300).jpg(CNS): When the premier called on the Cayman public to do more to help reduce government’s financial health care burden, he admitted that he had been guilty of neglecting his own health and needed to do more. He said he had allowed his own weight to reach 360 pounds and was forced to seek a gastric by-pass. “I had been a bad boy,” McKeeva Bush said at thenational healthcare conference last week. “At 360 pounds everything was going the wrong way. When bariatric surgery was suggested, I thought my world had ended. I had never been sick in my life, never been in a hospital.” Having undertaken the procedure, the premier said he felt 100 per cent better “I can even run!” he said.

Despite the costly surgery, Bush conceded that, like a lot of people in Cayman, he did not exercise enough and a lack of exercise was endemic in the Cayman population because of people’s busy lifestyles.

Speaking at the opening of the Healthcare 20/20 conference at the Ritz-Carlton, which this year focused on the economics of the issue, he said healthcare was a very expensive business for government and it was everybody’s responsibility to get their heads together to discuss a way for Cayman to build a sustainable healthcare model.

“In a perfect world everybody would get the best possible healthcare and nobody would be turned away,” the premier said. Senior citizens would not have to worry about whether they could pay their bills and mothers would not have to worry about whether they could afford healthcare for their children. “Unfortunately there is no such thing as a free lunch,” he said. “In fact, when it comes to healthcare, lunch can be very expensive.” 

Healthcare spending is rising faster than incomes in most developed countries and the Cayman government’s own “staggering” healthcare burden at around $93.4 million (2090-2010 figure) is just less than a fifth of the total budget and unsustainable, the premier said. “Just imagine if half of that sum could be spent on scholarships or other social programmes,” he added.

The premier said that various pressures were pushing up costs, including increased public demand for healthcare, increased insurance costs, specialist technology, new costly drugs and unhealthy lifestyles, resulting in a growing need for medical care. Healthcare was an issue that could easily be neglected, especially when incomes were dwindling and times were hard.

“The fact that our healthcare is usually at the bottom of our lists is ironic, given that the cost of healthcare gives the government one of its biggest financial headaches,” Bush said.

Health minister Mark Scotland also had stark words of warning for the audience when he said that if Cayman’s current model of healthcare did not change soon it would find itself handicapped and cause an inevitable decline in care. “It cannot continue,” he said, stating that everyone needed to embrace a culture change.

Category: Health

Comments (32)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Slowpoke says:

    I think the important part of this message is, that simply having the surgery is not enough.  You still have to alter and maintain a lifestyle change.

    I am not necessarily a big supporter of Mac, but I do appreciate his honesty in this case.

  2. Anonymous says:

    He could improve the health of the entire country by tendering his resignation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How about adopting a policy of 'no more free lunches'? LOL!!!!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I guess he hadno problem getting CINCO to pay for the gastric bypass surgery for him because he's the Premier. However, the average civil servant can"t even get a referral to a specialist on island without a load of red tape.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Buy Local produce and take some time to buy the correct foods and cook a meal for yourself and kids instead of spending 5 minutes in fast food drive-thru. Avoid foods with yellow No5 and high MSG all these poisons the FDA allows in most of the packaged foods. Watch on you tube FOOD MATTERS and FOOD INC and you will get a clear picture of the deceit going on and how these big US corporations never get charged.  

  6. Thinking Outside the Box says:


    Paying for every single Caymanian, (man, woman, child and baby) to go to the Gym for the year only cost $11,000,000. So for those able to go to the gym the cost is likely only to be $4,000,000 per year.

    Maybe this should be a standard benefit for all Caymanians. If you do not show bi-weekly attendance to a gym your medical cost at hospital is doubled when used no matter the ailment. I am sure the health services cost will go down far more the $4M as most health cost in Cayman is now Diabetes and Heart related – both helped significantly by regular exercise.

    Let us think outside the box. Minister Scotland, please get those free Gym memberships out to us and watch your health cost go down. The local businesses will also benefit.

    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      Not a bad idea, TOTB, but it wouldn't work.  Besides……  a lot of us don't want the government running our lives. 

    • Anonymous says:

      It would also boost the economy if government issued low-cost work permits for Jamaicans and Filipinos to go to the gym for us!

    • Anonymous says:

      you don't need a gym to be fit and healthy…..

    • Sounds says:

      Sounds really socialist to me. How can the Govt mandate exercise especially if its a particular kind, suppose I would rather go jogging would I be jailed for that?

      Please make realistic suggestions.

      OR buy a ticket to CUBA


  7. Anonymous says:

    Strange how there is never money for the peoples healthcare, but there is always a budget to have wealthy developers not having to pay duties and make land deals.

  8. Whodatis says:

    Cayman Fitness Tips by Whodatis

    Eating Habits

    A typical Cayman lunch or dinner consists of:

    • Chicken / Beef / Meat
    • Rice & Beans
    • Potato Salad / Breadfruit
    • Macaroni & Cheese
    • Corn Bread
    • Fried Plantain
    • Lettuce & Tomato
    • Soda / Fruit Punch / Juice-Drink

    (Mmmm – getting hungry?)

    Most people would look at this meal and think that the meat and fried plantains are the weight gainers. You may be surprised.

    Do you feel slow, lethargic and lazy after lunch? (Yes – I am referring to what is locally known as "niggaritis".)

    This feeling is actually due to the extremely high levels of carbohydrates (carbs) that are present in a typical Caymanian meal.

    It is not the normal sized serving of meat that is making you gain weight, instead it is the high intake of evergy-providing carbohydrates that have no chance of being used up by your body. This is why you feel so sluggish after lunch and dinner – too much of the starchy foods in our meals.

    (Our eating culture has a historical context. The (active) lifestyle, economic reality, and access to various foods determined our eating habits. Nowadays most of us are inactive and only sit behind a desk all day long … this does not require much carbs. Therefore, the carbs that we intake are not used / burned up by the body so it simply stays in the body as FAT.)

    Many people make the mistake and cut out meat and keep everything else when they go on a "diet". This is a common mistake. (By the way, diets DO NOT work simply because when you return to a normal eating pattern your body will return to its earlier condition.)

    Instead, keep eating the same portion of meats, increase your intake of leafy vegetables and cut back significantly on the Rice & Beans, Macaroni, Breadfruit, Cornbread, Potato Salad – the starchy stuff!

    Also, and perhaps most importantly, you should try to break out of the common eating pattern of 3 big meals a day. Instead try to focus on 6 – 8 small, frequent meals throughout the day. This keeps your metabolism running at top speed and you will actually BURN MORE CALORIES by eating more regularly – sweet deal right?!


    Join a gym or health club. Also, invest in some proper workout attire to go along with your new lifestlye. (Both of these actions will help you to stay committed, especially in the early weeks, as you have a financial interest in the new you.)

    If it is your first time be sure to seek the assistance of a trained professional at your chosen establishment.

    Do not be intimidated by the gym scene – the thing is that 90% of people in the gym are just as clueless as you are … even many of the big muscle guys!

    If you are a beginner you may want to spend some time on the cardio machines to get your body accustomed to its new way of life. However, do not get caught up in what I refer to as "CARDIO PRISON".

    Cardio prison is when people equate "going to the gym" with walking / running on the treadmill, cross-trainer or stair-climber.

    Yes, all of these machines are useful in their own right, however including RESISTANCE TRAINING (free weights / dumbbells / weight machines) can significantly increase the extent and speed of your results.

    Typically you can have as good as, if not better, a workout in half of the time you spend on a cardio machine if you include some of the weight machines in your fitness program. (Plus this way you can actually burn calories and "lose weight" 24/7 as opposed to only when you are sweating away on a boring treadmill for 1.5 hours … but I won't get into all of that now.)


    So, for a healthier and smaller you, it will help to;

    • decrease the size of your meals
    • increase the frequency of your meals (6-8 rather than 3)
    • take advantage of the many buffet lunches islandwide today as they give you control over what and how much you eat
    • cut back significantly on your carbohydrate intake
    • get active – daily walks / jogs – join a gym
    • add some resistance training to your workout (ladies, no – this will NOT bulk you up, don't worry)
    • try to avoid "cardio prison"
    • drinks lots of water
    • NO MORE sodas, "juice drinks" etc. These are like a sugar-drip into your body

    So – there you have it folks. You have just received a "professional" fitness consultation and managed to save about $150.00 bucks as well. Now – get out there and get crackin'!

    (I was tempted to simply post a "smart" comment and move on but decided to do this instead.)

    * Disclaimer: Always consult a doctor before starting any fitness regime or change of diet and eating pattern.

    Feel free to post any questions regarding any of the above or fitness in general and I will be happy to help if I can.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you worst advice is to eat a "buffet" meal.  People go to a buffet to "eat all you can".

      • Whodatis says:

        Hello poster,

        I was actually referring to the buffets that charge by the lb. / weight – so not much chance of all-you-can-eat there.

        These are very helpful as you can focus on (lean) meats and veggies while at the same time limiting your carbs. (We all know howrestaurants love to pile up the plate with rice and macaroni.)

        In my opinion, after home-cooked meals – buffets are the best eating option in Cayman today. You just have to be wise in your food selection and focus on your nutritional requirements.

        They can be quite economical as well.


    • B.B.L. Brown says:

      Great post, Whodatis!  Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone followed your advice!  Unfortunately, not many overweight people will.  Lack of will power, you know…….  that's why they haven't already done something about their weight.

      • Whodatis says:

        I know what you mean.

        However, like an earlier poster said – it is the little things that can make a big difference.

        One's health really ought to be a major priority in life. It is absolute madness for it not to be as everything else is dependent on it.

        I can understand an aversion to physical activity or exercise but I have no tolerance for any individual that continues unhealthy eating habits subsequent to being otherwise educated.

        If you don't love yourself enough to feed yourself properly then there is not much I can do for you.

        A bit harsh but true.

        (Thanks for the feedback.)

    • I Care says:

      Whodat, you really have to muct time on your hands LOL

      • Whodatis says:

        Not really.

        I just thought it was worth the effort, and judging by the response, I was right.

        Hope it was of some use to you as well.

    • Knot S Smart says:

      To make a long story short – just eat less, more healthy food, and exercise…

      • Whodatis says:

        Yes, very good.

        You get a cookie … no, a silver star to put on the board.

        Even though you are trying to be a wise-a$$ I will still stress the point that many people have no idea what is meant by "just eat less, more healthy food, and exercise…" – hence my lengthy post.

        Anyway, I am sure that underneath the sarcasm you learned a little something as well.


    • Anonymous says:

      Good job with all the info.  A lot of people don't realise that it can be easy to loose weight and get in shape.  It's all about taking small steps to change your lifestyle for the better.  Something as simple as using sweetener instead of sugar in your coffee and parking at the far end of the lot can help you get in shape.  It's not rocket science but still a lot of people don't get it.  Also, glad you mentioned soft drinks/juices at the end, but I think this is one of the biggest problems.  Even diet soda is bad for you and can cause you to gain weight.  Skip the soda, of if you love it that much, limit your portions.  Soda/fruit punch is never a replacement for water and proper hydration.


      • Whodatis says:

        Thank you for the feedback and you added some very good points as well.

        Take care.

  9. Anonymous says:

    the level obesity amongst our politicians is worrying but also sums them up pretty well…..overfed, bloated, lazy…….

  10. kerryphipps90 says:

    But for many hardworking families, affordable insurance can be hard to find. The new "Penny Medical" is giving you more control over your family’s health care by expanding your options for health insurance and making them more affordable.

  11. Anonymous says:

    He can run.  Yay!  Now can he please run away.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Youre still at the trough, run forest run.

  13. Y U T E says:

    I wouldn't worry too much about the health issue, it is the head that needs to improve!!!! And a conscience would help also. Poor people, poor old Cayman ladies go to bed at night without food in their belly, while the premier flies all over the world first class living in 5 star hotels eating till his belly full. You see, it is not health that is an issue, it is the head (& conscience)!

  14. Anonymous says:

    "I can even run."  Run his mouth and run from answering his "real estate bill " questions.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What happened to the good old way of excercise and eatting right.  Had to take the easy way out huh?????  You are such a good role model…so listen up everyone who has a weight problem, go get a stomach stapling!!!!  You should be a role model and excercise and eat properly to show everyone that it can be done, but this is the same way you run our country!!!! HALF a.. backwards