Minister encourages Cayman to get active for health

| 07/04/2010

(CNS): In his message for World Health Day the minster for health is encouraging people to get out and get active. With growing obesity problems in children, diabetes widespread and heart disease one of the three leading causes of death in the Cayman Islands Mark Scotland says Caymanians need to return to some old time outdoor pastimes. This year’s World Health Day theme is about city living and people’s health. And while the Cayman lifestyle may be more laid back than the average metropolis, rapid population growth and economic development have still brought a new set of health problems.

Message from Minister of Health Mark Scotland for world Health day 7 April:
Health statistics show that globally, mankind is making encouraging strides in solving some key health problems: The number of under-nourished children is declining; more than a dozen countries have reported a 50 percent reduction in malaria cases; access to HIV/AIDS treatment in developing countries has increased, and almost a billion more people have safe drinking water than during the previous decade.
Paradoxically though, certain health risks remain and have become even more acute,including obesity, smoking and alcohol abuse. Collectively, these and other preventable risks account for over 40 percent of the 58 million annual deaths worldwide, not to mention the huge loss of healthy life years they cause.
And troublingly, local statistics confirm that Cayman is not bucking the trend:
Public health school entry screenings for 2008-09 revealed a looming obesity-fuelled health crisis. More than 27 percent of children under the age of 6 and almost 38 percent of school students aged between 11 and 14 are overweight.
Obesity increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease, and already the latter is one of the three leading causes of death in the Cayman Islands.
National Drug Council (NDC) figures show that some 20 percent of our population smokes regularly, with one in every five smokers consuming a pack or more of cigarettes daily. Moreover, a 2007 NDC report on student drug use confirmed a marked increase in smoking among 7th-graders – an early warning sign that future smoking rates may rise.
Ironically, these findings and risks are exacerbated by the very thing that helps curb many other health challenges – namely, urbanization.
It is therefore entirely fitting that the 2010 World Health Day will focus on how city living affects people’s health. And while most persons view the Cayman lifestyle as being somewhat more laidback than is the average urban experience, even here, rapid population growth and economic development have removed us from things as simple as walking to our neighbours or – for our children – playing outside until sunset.  
This year’s World Health Day theme – 1000 cities, 1000 lives – thus calls us to rediscover creative and wholesome ways of relieving stress and staying healthy while living in an urban environment.
Likewise, my challenge to you is also to defy negative trends: Get out and get active, involve your family, friends and your entire community in reviving old time habits. Hide the TV remote and enjoy an ocean swim instead. Switch off the PlayStation and take your children for kite flying or build a sand castle. It might seem too good to be true, but in this instance, the first step to a healthier Cayman is just that simple!
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  1. Anonymous says:

    Gov’t, NRA, and local businesses like DART, Uncle Bills, Kirk’s, and groups like Rotary and Triathlon Society could collaborate to make our roads more bicycle friendly. 

    Remove the random "curbs to nowhere", and other dangerous choke points so families can safely get healthy together.  The by-pass is already equiped with ample shoulder room – remove the weird curbing and you’ve created a safe boulevard from north of Gov’ners Harbour, Snug Harbour, The Ritz, Camana Bay down to Butterfield Roundabout. 

    I’d be surprised if the bill would be more than $50k to do that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why don’t you contribute by paying income tax, there you go again giving your wish list and expecting to get without having to pay.  No such thing as a free lunch.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think we would all happily pay a reasonable annual property tax, so long as the funds where used accountably; and by that, not routed into ill-conceived, unsupervised, and wasteful endeavours, which much of the curbing at issue seems to have been a product of.  


    • Anonymous says:

      Private sector could easily foot the bill.  Doubt it would be as high as $50k.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How about Cabinet setting a good example ?


  3. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Scotland is absolutely correct. Too bad he wasn’t in a position of influence regarding road construction several years ago.

    Then he could have thought of cyclists and walkers and designed roads to accomodate them. As it is now, only crazy people with a death wish walk or cycle on Cayman roads. The norm here is no bike lanes and no sidewalks. Yeah, what a shame he couldn’t have made sure Cayman’s roads were compatible with a fitness lifestyle.

    Oh wait, come to think of it, didn’t he used to work in the roads dept.? Oops. sorry.

  4. Anonymous says:

    More than 27 percent of children under the age of 6 and almost 38 percent of school students aged between 11 and 14 are overweight.

    Incompetent parents not taking responsibility for their children.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Too much junk food, TV watching and video games.  Parents need to learn how to cook, stop letting the TV and video games provide parental supervison for their children.  Let the children play jump rope, marbels, and wholesome activities that involves more than the remote and their thumbs.

    With an abundance of fresh air and sun shine we prefer to let our children stay in front of the Tv or video games all day in an air conditioned apartment or house and eat Pizzas, Burger King, Wendy;s and junk food all day and then we wonder why or complain when they are obese.  We are failing our young people big time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why would they want to go outside?  Its turning into a concrete jungle