Leading by example - Health staff enthusiastic about regular physical activity
Aligned with the Ministry of Health's 'Jamaica Moves' campaign, which promotes healthy lifestyle habits among Jamaicans, the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) is providing resources and support to its staff in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth, to promote regular physical activity and healthier diets.
Regional director of the SRHA, Michael Bent, said it was imperative for health workers to not only teach healthy living but to exemplify it in their everyday lives. He added that he was pleased that the staff members have been enthusiastic about the regular physical activity sessions, which are held four days each week in each parish within the region.
"Each parish within the region has been provided with a physical trainer who engages the staff in these physical activity sessions. The sessions are rotated between facilities, in an effort to reach staff who may not be able to travel to other facilities. We also encourage community members to participate in the sessions," Bent explained.
The regional director noted that though physical activity requires little or no resources, and can be achieved in various forms and be done in any setting, staff have access to exercise tools, to boost their interest. He added that staff nutritionists also assist staff members with meal plans and information regarding healthier diets.
Bent added that the SRHA is working on the development of a Family Wellness and Therapeutic Park which will be used as a prescription for healthy lifestyle practices and will be replicated in the parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth.
Parish wellness programme
According to the Regional Health Promotion and Education Officer Faith Lyttle, the SRHA has also embarked on a wellness programme, which has engaged 45 persons from workplaces and communities in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St Elizabeth for one year. She added that the programme will incorporate physical activity and proper nutrition as a prescription for healthier lifestyles, and is also part of the health ministry's target to reduce the mortality rate associated with non-communicable diseases by 25 per cent by 2025.
The Ministry of Health urges Jamaicans to engage in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, which helps to prevent and control non-communicable diseases.