Lifestyle diseases focus of Caribbean wellness day

| 10/09/2011

(CNS): The Cayman Islands joined the region in observing the annual Caribbean Wellness Day this weekend and the country’s health minister ointed to the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The theme for the day set aside for health this year on Saturday, 10 September is Love that Body focusing on so-called lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease and stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer, which although the leading causes of premature death in the Caribbean can be avoided. “The importance of living healthily is sadly still underrated – at great personal and national cost,” Mark Scotland, the health minister said.

“Of course, we can – and should – make a difference by changing our diets, giving up bad habits such as smoking and by making exercise part of our lives. Healthy living is one of the best long-term investments one can ever make,” he added.

The Public Health Department, the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the Cayman Islands Heart Fund and Foster’s Food Fair joined forces to offer free health screenings for non-communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol) on Saturday at the Marriot Hotel. Public Health where staff  also have a nutrition and cancer educational booth.

A plan to tackle non-communicable diseases in the Caribbean was set forth in the 2007 Port-of-Spain Declaration after a meeting of CARICOM heads of state. Included in this declaration was the proclamation of Caribbean Wellness Day.

The alarming growth of non-communicable diseases, and their associated costs and negative socio-economic impacts, has this year also attracted international concern, with the United Nations scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on preventable chronic diseases on 19-20 September this year.  According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this represents a major opportunity for health policy to take centre stage. This type of meeting on health has only occurred once before when the organisation met in 2001 to discuss the AIDS epidemic.

See health article by the Public Health Department below

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