With physical inactivity the fourth leading cause of death globally, Jamaicans are encouraged to get moving this Thursday, World Move for Health Day.
“We want people to get up and move; every movement counts,” said Charmaine Plummer, senior health education officer at the Ministry of Health (MOH).
This year’s local theme for the day, celebrated internationally since 2002, is as it has been over the years: “Love your body, treat your body right”.
For Plummer, who is also the national focal point for physical activity, there is no better way to do that than to get physically active.
“There are so many benefits that can be derived from becoming physically active,” she noted.
Among other things, Plummer said:
- Persons who are inactive spend more than the general population on healthcare services and medication;
- Physical activity can prevent, manage and control diabetes, hypertension and heart disease; and
- Persons who are physically active generally outlive those who are inactive.
On getting active this Thursday, she said: “If you are at home, you can play some music and dance with your friends and family. If you at church, you can play some music there, too, and move. If you are in the school, teachers and students alike can get up and do stretch breaks. In the workplace, we are encouraging persons to get up every hour and do a little stretch.”
“Let’s put down some of the gadgets this Thursday and move. It’s a chance to reduce our screen time, go outdoors and move,” the MOH officer said.
Jamaicans get the chance to do just that with the national activity for the day to be staged at Sam Sharpe Square in Montego Bay, beginning at noon. Those who turn out will benefit from a variety of offerings, including free screening for HIV/STI, blood pressure and blood sugar screening, and mental health screening.
They can also access nutritional counselling, partake of food sampling and engage in a range of physical activities, from Dandy Shandy to hula-hoop, dancing hopscotch, and Chinese skipping, among others.
Activities for Move for Health Day this year is being executed as part of the national “Jamaica Moves” campaign, which is an aggressive call to action for Jamaicans to become more active. The campaign focuses on community-level interventions to facilitate increased physical activity among the population, and has so far developed walking trails across the island while piggy backing on walking and running groups to enhance social support and motivation for physical activity.