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Jamaicans encouraged to adopt healthier lifestyles

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 6:00 AM
Derrick Smith

Derrick Smith, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), is encouraging Jamaicans to make healthier lifestyle choices that will minimise the risks associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The four main categories of NCDs which are prevalent in Jamaica are cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and strokes; cancer; chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma; and diabetes.

"There is a view that if you are in your teens and 20s, it is not really necessary (to take precaution), but that is when it is most necessary because (that) is when you get into the habit of maintaining (particular) lifestyles," Smith said.

 

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He pointed out that consequent on being diagnosed with diabetes, his eating, exercising and sleeping habits changed significantly, thereby enabling him to maintain good health.

The minister was speaking at the fifth health and wellness fair at the OPM in St Andrew on June 3.

Smith disclosed that the Government was exploring the possible establishment of a gymnasium at the OPM that would benefit the approximately 300 employees.

The minister advised that he would commence discussions in this regard with several stakeholders this week.

Smith said the gymnasium would represent a "tangible and permanent" facility for persons to engage in healthier lifestyle practices.

"Let's set the example for other large corporations and agencies to do likewise," he added.

For his part, Dave Williams, policy analyst in the OPM's Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, commended the staff for supporting the health and wellness fair since its inception through their participation in the event.

The fair was jointly organised with the Office of the Cabinet as part of efforts to promote healthy lifestyle practices among staff.

It featured booths that were mounted by several public and private-sector organisations.

They included the Ministry of Health, National Health Fund, Jamaica Civil Service Association, National Insurance Scheme, LASCO, Jamaica Cancer Society, Totally Male, Soft Sheen Carson, Digicel Play, Sagicor, and PriceSmart Promotions.