Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Jamaica Moves | The Upbeaters spreading healthy living across Jamaica

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2017 | 9:22 PM
The Upbeaters Clarendon team
The Upbeaters St Elizabeth team
The Upbeaters Manchester team
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Guided by the Ministry of Health's National Strategic Plan and Action for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), a statutory body of the ministry, has launched a Wellness Programme, geared towards instilling a culture of healthy lifestyle practices in Jamaicans.

 The programme was officially launched in July at the Halse Hall Great House in Clarendon and engages 45 persons from workplaces and communities in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth for one year. It will incorporate physical activity and proper nutrition as a prescription for healthier lifestyles.

 According to SRHA Regional Non-Communicable Disease Surveillance Officer, Karen Thompson-Nelson, the wellness programme is part of the ministry’s target to reduce the mortality rate associated with non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025 and also falls within the SRHA initiative, 'Good Health Begins at Home'.

She explained that the participants were selected based on their Body Mass Index, which is a person's weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters.

 The wellness programme will cater to the holistic needs of the participants as they will be outfitted with gears and physical activity equipment. She added that each parish will have a personal trainer who will develop a programme plan for the participants.

"We also have on board nutritionists, physiotherapists, nurses, doctors, social workers and psychologists who will assist with the holistic development of the participants on the wellness journey," Nelson said.

 She added that the participants will be monitored during the period of the programme in an effort to examine data which will support the rationale and guide the development of the Family Wellness and Therapeutic Park which will be established by the SRHA shortly.

Nelson pointed out that the Park will be used as a prescription for healthy lifestyle practices and will be replicated in the three parishes of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth.

She noted that it was imperative for health workers to not only teach healthy living but to exemplify it in their everyday lives. She added that it was crucial that Jamaicans begin living healthier lives in an effort to impact the risk of non-communicable diseases, which has emerged as one of the leading cause of deaths among Jamaicans for the last three decades.