Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer
With local surveys showing women more at risk for developing diabetes than the male population, the Ministry of Health and the Diabetes Association of Jamaica have decided to place special emphasis on educating women about the disease as the country observes Diabetes Week 2011.
The week of activities is to be observed under the theme "Diabetes Education and Prevention".
Addressing a service yesterday at Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew to launch the week of activities, Dr Sonia Copeland, director of disease prevention and control in the Ministry Health, said Jamaican women were more affected by the disease.
According to Copeland, this susceptibility was particularly because women demonstrate a significantly higher prevalence for obesity and high cholesterol than men.
"A 2008 health and lifestyle survey shows that 38 per cent of women versus 12 per cent of men were obese, while 16 per cent of women versus eight per cent of men had high cholesterol," said Copeland, who was speaking on behalf of Health Minister Rudyard Spencer. "Obesity, high cholesterol levels, and increase in age are significant risk factors for diabetes."
She added that with the present findings, it was only fitting that Diabetes Week take into account messages specifically aimed at educating women about their health and how they could prevent and control diabetes.
"The national slogan, 'Diabetes: Act Now', is a call for females to take charge of their health and adopt the behaviours necessary to improve their quality of life," she said.
Copeland noted that while more emphasis would be placed on educating women, men should not negate their responsibility to the messages being promoted this week.
6:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Diabetes Association of Jamaica headquarters at 1 Downer Avenue Kgn.
Interviews with medical representatives and patients.
Nutrition demonstration with Dr Heather Little-White
Blood pressure, eye and BMI (Body Mass Index) screening.
Talk on diabetes and obesity at Sts Peter and Paul Prep School.