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Health Minister Advises on Caribbean Wellness Day - TAKE YOUR HEALTH SERIOUSLY PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 10 September 2010 10:56

Kingston, Jamaica (September 10, 2010): Hon. Rudyard Spencer, Minister of Health is calling on all Jamaicans to take seriously their responsibility for their health and make healthy dietary and lifestyle choices. His admonition comes on Caribbean Wellness Day celebration which will this year be observed on September 11 under the theme “Love Your Body, Treat Your Body Right”. This underpins the importance of regular physical activity in order to prevent chronic lifestyle diseases and maintain good health.


“Chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart and other circulatory diseases, strokes, cancers, diabetes, and respiratory diseases are still the leading causes of death in Jamaica. Over fifty percent (50%) of all local deaths are linked to these conditions,” the Minister said. Chronic non-communicable diseases alone cost the Ministry of Health over US$170 million to treat annually and the Ministry is committed to providing the level of care required while individuals make every effort to prevent these diseases and their complications.


He said the epidemic must not be allowed to take over lives and communities but must be reversed by consistently practicing healthy lifestyles – healthy eating, regular physical activity, no smoking, responsible consumption of alcohol and safe sexual practices.


“Physical inactivity, poor dietary choices, obesity and tobacco use, are among the leading risk factors causing chronic illnesses. While the Ministry continues to educate the population about these unhealthy habits it is important that as individuals we take first responsibility for our health,” he said.


He said more Jamaicans need to get active citing that the World Health Organization recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. He explained that walking short distances instead of driving or taking public transport is an excellent way of staying active while saving money. Regular gardening, jogging, dancing and general household chores are also suggested for those who cannot engage in the more intense physical activities.


The recent Healthy Lifestyle Survey (2007/2008) reports that the majority of Jamaicans are engage in little or no physical activity especially among women. The survey reports a total of 96% of women being sedentary or involved in light physical activity compared to 82% men.


Minister Spencer calls on parents, to take the lead in developing an active lifestyle at home and to pass this on to their children. He said “We all need to get out there and engage the family in gardening, and other household chores. Take dance, skipping breaks, fun walks and ball games with the family. The family that plays together grows healthily together.”


Caribbean Wellness Day was first observed in the region in 2008 one year after it was instituted through the Port of Spain Declaration. The day is observed annually on the second Saturday in September following a commitment made by CARICOM Heads of Government to stop the epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases in the region. The aim of the celebration is to promote healthy living by encouraging the population to inculcate and practice healthy habits in their everyday lives.



Contact: MOH, Public Relations Unit Tel: 967-1561


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