Caribbean Wellness Day for Half-Way Tree square

Published: Monday | September 7, 2009

PLANS ARE in high gear locally to celebrate the second staging of Caribbean Wellness Day on Sunday, September 13. Caribbean Wellness Day is officially observed across the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) region on the second Saturday of September, but will be celebrated in Jamaica this year on September 13 to facilitate the staging of a major health festival in Half-Way Tree square.

Under the theme 'Love your body. Treat your body right', the Ministry of Health, in partnership with many local organisations, will be taking the message of healthy lifestyles and, in particular, the health benefits of physical activity to the streets.

Dr Eva Lewis-Fuller, director of health promotion and protection in the Ministry of Health, said, "Caribbean Wellness Day is a new and exciting vehicle that Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, are using to promote healthy lifestyles." She said while it represents a collective commitment of CARICOM member states to fight the growing burden of lifestyle-related diseases, it is also a call to individuals to make a commitment to wellness.

According to Dr Lewis-Fuller, chronic non-communicable diseases such as heart and other circulatory diseases, strokes, cancers, diabetes and respiratory disease are among the leading causes of death in Jamaica, with over 50 per cent attributable to these conditions. Last year, chronic non-communicable diseases alone cost approximately US$170 million to treat.

"Come September 13, the ministry will continue the emphasis on regular physical activity, healthy eating, smoking prevention and reducing alcohol consumption through an interesting set of activities organised for the day," Dr Fuller emphasised.

The festival will feature a variety of wellness products and services, giveaways, mass aerobics sessions, 5K walk/run, health screening, music and a concert for the family, featuring Ryan Mark DJ Nicholas, George Nooks and Rising Stars finalist Angel Smith and more.

Caribbean Wellness Day was first observed across the region last year, mandated by the Port-of-Spain Declaration which was formulated at the 2007 CARICOM Heads of Government meeting under the theme 'Uniting to stop the epidemic of chronic diseases'. This year's celebration will be strongly supported by Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Minister of Health Rudyard Spencer.