Dr. Visser with First Lady Michelle Obama at the Building a Healthier Future Summit in March.
Minister of Health and Sports for Aruba Richard Visser, D.C.
(West '93), has been a strong advocate for chiropractic's participation
in health organizations in his region, and a voice for
action on health issues such as childhood obesity.
His most recent endeavor was participating in the "Building
a Healthier Future Summit," held March 6-8 in Washington,
D.C. At this conference he had the honor of meeting First Lady
Michelle Obama, who shares his passion for dealing with the issue
of childhood obesity. Ms. Obama is honorary chair of Partnership
for a Healthier America, which sponsored the conference.
Dr. Visser was one of four international panelists joining Health
and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs Nils
Daulaire speaking on the issues of global childhood obesity at
the conference. He highlighted Aruba's innovative domestic
initiatives to reduce childhood obesity and related diseases
through National Plan Aruba 2009-2018 and community-based
action to promote physical activity and healthy eating. Dr.
Visser created the Institute for Healthy and Active Living to
increase health promotion and prevention of noncommunicable
diseases. Results to date show that the number of people engaging
in moderate to intense physical activity on a regular basis
in Aruba has increased from nine percent to 39 percent since
2009. Dr. Visser is planning the third Pan American Conference
on Obesity (PACO III) in Aruba June 6-8, 2013.
In September 2012, Dr. Visser participated in the 28th annual
Pan American Sanitary Conference in Washington, D.C. During
this conference, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten were admitted
as new Associate Members of the Pan American Health
Organization (PAHO). This category of membership will enable
the three countries to participate directly in PAHO activities.
According to Dr. Visser, this membership in PAHO marks "a
new beginning for Aruba" and "reflects the need for closer
relations with the countries of the Caribbean" to face common
health problems, such as noncommunicable diseases.