Health Minister wants to curb lifestyle diseases

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Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton urged Jamaicans to get moving again to curb lifestyle diseases as the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) remains very high in the Jamaican population.

Minister Tufton was speaking at the official launch of Move for Health Day 2016, which was held on Tuesday at the Bargain Village Plaza in May Pen, Clarendon.

Minister Tufton stated that data from the Health and Lifestyle Survey 2010, reveals that 70 per cent of deaths in Jamaica were due to the four major NCDs namely cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and chronic respiratory diseases, of which 27 per cent occurred below the age of 70 years.

"One of the most important mandates of the health ministry is to get all Jamaicans to understand that it is important to take care of themselves by engaging in a number of things such as eating right, exercising and not over indulging in any activities in order to prevent lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol," he said.

The Health and Lifestyle Study 2008 reveals that almost half (46 per cent) of the adult population was classified as having a low physical activity or being inactive. The majority or 90 per cent of Jamaicans 15-74 years were either sedentary or participated in light physical activity during their leisure time.

NCDs are caused, to a large extent, by four behavioural risk factors including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, insufficient physical activity and the harmful use of alcohol and unless the NCD epidemic is aggressively confronted, the mounting impact will continue and may be increasing.

Move for Health Day is celebrated each year on May 10 to generate public awareness of the benefits of physical activity in the prevention of non-communicable diseases.