Jamaica’s Vision 2030 National Development Plan for making “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business” is under threat from the
public health crisis, the Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) epidemic. Seven (7) out of ten (10) Jamaicans will die from an NCD which includes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease and some cancers.
According to the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle, Survey lll 2016-2017 eighty two percent (82%) of Jamaicans engaged in low physical activity, sixteen percent (16%) in moderate activity (minimum World Health Organization recommendations) and two percent (2%) high activity. Physical activity has many benefits. It can reduce global mortality by at least sixty percent (60%), ischemic heart disease by thirty percent (30%), diabetes by twenty seven percent (27%), and breast and colon cancers by twenty one to twenty five percent (21%-25%). Global Recommendation on Physical Activity for Health: World Health Organization.
Over the years many physical activity interventions have taken place in the different settings such as schools, communities and the workplace. Ministry of Health and Wellness has recognized the church as an ideal setting to promote and facilitate physical activity on a consistent basis. There is usually space that can facilitate physical activity for a number of persons; it is considered a safe zone by the community and activities already take place, both in the week and on weekends.
In April, 2017, the Ministry of Health and Wellness launched its Jamaica Moves Campaign, as part of a response to mitigate the growing NCD epidemic. The campaign is a call to action for the Jamaican population to engage in healthy lifestyle behaviours with emphasis on healthy eating, physical activity and doing annual and age appropriate health checks. The campaign’s creative and innovative repackaging of key messages and health initiatives has stimulated interest across the island in making healthier choices.
As part of the Jamaica Moves Campaign, the Ministry of Health will identify a set of churches and empower them with the Ministry’s guidelines and policies regarding the importance of physical activity and healthy lifestyle. Ministry of Health is on a mission to get the Jamaican population moving 30 minutes a day: one pastor, one family, one bible study, one church.