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Church leaders urged to help promote healthy lifestyle

Published:Monday | May 13, 2019 | 12:10 AM
Nurse Gloria Hinds (right), Diabetes Association of Jamaica, records health information provided by Major Jennifer Brown, director at the Salvation Army, in preparation for administering a blood pressure test.  The occasion was the ‘Move for Health Day’ event at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, on May 10. The day was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness under the theme ‘Love Yuh Body, Treat Yuh Body Right’.
Nurse Gloria Hinds (right), Diabetes Association of Jamaica, records health information provided by Major Jennifer Brown, director at the Salvation Army, in preparation for administering a blood pressure test. The occasion was the ‘Move for Health Day’ event at the Spanish Court Hotel, New Kingston, on May 10. The day was hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness under the theme ‘Love Yuh Body, Treat Yuh Body Right’.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton is calling on church leaders to partner with the Government on its healthy lifestyle promotion campaign in order to reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“This partnership is very important. Too many of us are afflicted by various lifestyle ailments and diseases, and that is reflected in the data (from) the hospitals,” the minister said.

He was speaking at a Physical Activity Forum for leaders of faith-based organisations at the Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew on Friday.

Citing statistics, Dr Tufton said that one in three Jamaicans is hypertensive, one in eight is diabetic, and one in two is obese or overweight. He noted that an average of 6,000 Jamaicans die from cardiovascular diseases each year, 4,000 from cancer, and another 7,000 are diagnosed with cancer.

He argued that these conditions are preventable if people follow healthy lifestyle habits such as a balanced diet, daily exercise and have annual health checks.

The Physical Activity Forum, under the theme ‘Love Yuh Body, Treat Yuh Body Right,’ was hosted by the ministry to mark World Move for Health Day.

The event promoted the importance of exercise as part of the larger ‘Jamaica Moves’ programme.

Activities on the day included blood pressure and blood sugar tests, as well as nutrition displays, and the launch of a physical activity publication. Director of Health Promotion and Education in the Ministry, Takese Foga, explained that the bible is an important resource developed by the ministry as it seeks to use creative ways to engage the public in its healthy lifestyle initiative.

‘Designed for support’

“It is designed to support you all, as church leaders, in incorporating healthy activities into your services, into your programmes and into your activities. It is really a guide for you to use,” Foga said.

Data from the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey 2016-17, indicated that only two per cent of persons were involved in high intensity physical activity; 16 per cent were engaged in moderate activity; and 82 per cent were found to be involved in low activity.World Move for Health Day is a global day of awareness and action to encourage persons to introduce physical activity as part of a lifestyle habit. The initiative was borne out of a 2002 World Health Report, which revealed that a large number of persons engaged in very limited physical activity.

In 2010, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality.

In Jamaica, this accounts for 12 per cent of mortality contributing to 13 per cent of breast cancer, 14 per cent of colon cancer, eight per cent of coronary heart disease, and 10 per cent of Type 2 diabetes.