New minister picks up healthy living message

| 24/06/2013

2013 Healthcare Conference announcement .JPGCNS): The new health minister, Osbourne Bodden, made it clear that his ministry will be picking up where the previous minster left off when it comes to focusing on lifestyle issues to combat Cayman’s growing communicable disease problem. Announcing the dates for Cayman’s 4th annual Healthcare Conference, which will take place from 17 to 19 October this year, he said Caymanians were still following an unhealthy lifestyle and need to take on board the messages that the conference will deliver on prevention by following a healthy diet and enjoying regular exercise. Bodden said getting the nation healthier is a priority of his new Ministry.

“The findings of our 2012 Healthy Nation survey have thrown into sharp focus that we are still leadingunhealthy lifestyles, such as continuing to smoke, eating unhealthy foods and not participating in regular exercise,” he said at a press briefing announcing the conference.

“We therefore anticipate that the Healthcare Conference will help to inform the audience about ways in which they can improve their health. Targeting wellness in the workplace, it is hoped that the conference will go a long way to improving the health and wellbeing of all employees across industries,” he added

This year, organisers have built the health conference programme around the theme: Taking Care of Business: A Shared Approach to Workplace Wellness.

“The workplace is, after all, a location in which we spend a large part of our day, so it is an excellent place to focus our energies, health-wise,” Bodden stated. “If we get Cayman leading a healthier lifestyle we hopefully cut down the prevalence of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.  This will go a long way to reducing expenditure for the private and public sector in the long term.  We also need to address the serious situation of growing obesity in our young people and we hope that this conference will also lead to corrective action in that area and ensure that employers and our schools address this matter urgently,” the new minister added.

CEO Lizzette Yearwood explained that the conference is for everyone and not just health care providers.

“Drawing on our experiences from previous conferences, as well as recent healthcare surveys that show the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in Cayman, we realised that this year’s conference ought to be as inclusive of as wide a section of the public as possible,” she said. “We hope that everyone will see the relevance of the presentations and attend."

As well as the three days of presentations, the organisers have introduced workshops that will cover the concept of ‘Info to Action’ and the chief officer in Bodden’s ministry, Jennifer Ahearn, explained what they hoped to achieve. 

“These sessions will present and expand on the theme in more detail, bringing together perspectives from a broad range of individuals, including healthcare providers, general practitioners, patients, and other stakeholders, in an attempt to build a bigger picture of health issues facing people in Cayman today.  The session results will then be presented to the delegates on the final day of the conference during an overview session," she said.

The conference is free to attend and open to the public. Registration is mandatory and will begin Tuesday 2 July through the conference website.For more updates on speakers, sponsors and the programme check the conference website or the Facebook page.

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  1. Just Commentin' says:

    Conferences are all fine and good and can be inspirational but they are passive, i.e. all talk. What we need is to be very pro-active on the issue. Until I see the government hospital with a dedicated preventative medicine and wellness section, I will find it hard to believe that our government is doing little more than paying lips service to wellness and a healthy lifestyle.  After all, making a big issue about a healthy lifestyle is the trendy thing to do. Looks and sounds cool.

    So let's do something meaningful. What about implementing a clinic that does nothing else other than giving free or very low-cost screenings for obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and certain other cancers, hypertension, and other common causes of premature death and disease that are relatively easy to screen? The clinic could also offer nutritional information for those trying to eat healthier and those trying to loose weight. The clinic could be mobile and continually rotate among the districts and popular spots in the island (shopping centres, UCCI, public beaches, churches, major employers, etc.). The clinic could operate on Saturdays and even some evenings. Serve refreshments, have entertainment, make it a family affair. As it is now either you wait to catch one of the infrequent  free screening clinics, or you wait for hours in the waiting room at the GT hospital, or worse yet, you do nothing and die of something that an easy screening could have caught.  Sure, it will cost government money but there is the potential to save may lives and prevent much needless suffering. 

    As a way of setting a very pro-active example, the Ministers should start a "Biggest Looser" weight loss competition amonst themselves. That would go a long way in showing people that they are sincere about promoting a healthier lifestyle. Too many of our leaders look like they need to shed a few (or more) pounds.

    If a year from now I still see Ozzie walking arond with his paunch overhanging his belt, I will know that he was just paying lips service to the trendy idea of promoting a healthier lifestyle. Among the most effective leaders are those who lead by example. Ok! The ball is in your hand, Oz. Either shoot, pass or dribble!

  2. Anonymous says:

    You have obviously never seen Mr. Ozzies legs and arms. The man is very powerful and fit though he has a belly!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Next up Bush will give a speech on stopping corruption.

  4. I Am Orange says:

    Oompa Loompa, do-ba-dee-doo,
    I’ve got a perfect puzzle for you.
    Oompa Loompa, do-ba-dee-dee,
    If you are wise you’ll listen to me.
    What do you get when you guzzle down sweets?
    Eating as much as an elephant eats.
    What are you at getting terribly fat?
    What do you think will come of that?
    I don't like the look of it
    Oompa Loompa do-ba-dee-da,
    Given good manners you will go far.
    You will live in happiness too,
    Like the oompa loompa do-ba-dee-doo.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do as I say (get healthy), not as I do (look like an obese….well, ya know).  What specifically isall of our unhealthy (who get free medical care for….life, is it?) ministers going to do to help this country get healthy?  Ok, not everyone needs to lose weight there, but also getting insurers to pay for reasonable healthy options (why not, we're paying so much in premiums with less and less covered anyway??), and raising duties on the unhealthy foods and restaurants allowing us to lower them on the healthy veggies and meat/fish/dairy etc.  Minister, put our money where it will benefit us the most – healthwise.

  6. Jonas Dwyer says:

    COme on now whoever you are he is a duly elected member of Parliament .  He deserves the  courtesy and respect.of all persons residing on these Cayman Islands. And Oh! you are not funny at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one deserves respect until they have earned it, that is far too caymanian "entitlement" attitude…go see how it works in the rest of the world.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think that's a stupid comment. If you meet a stranger for the first time you are automatically going to be rude to them and not show them respect, just because you are waiting for them to earn it? If everybody had that kind of mentality, we would be living in much colder world.

        • Anonymous says:

          And just how is your comment intelligent 14.59? We were not talking about meeting in the street, which is pure manners and of course you are or should be polite meeting someone, we were talking about earning respect for the work you do. Just because you have a job it does not mean you are necessarily going to be good at it…you could be bad at it, medicore or brilliant at it. Far too early to tell for sure in this case, but I for one do not think the man has got off to a good start. If you do not understand the difference between Respect and Manners I will tryto teach you using words of no more than three letters.

          • Anonymous says:

            Manners is a way of showing respect. We all owe each other some measure of respect as human beings. We certainly owe our elected representatives respect by virtue of the office they hold. Try going into court and disrespecting the judge because he/she is newly appointed and hasn't 'earned' your respect and see what happens to you. 

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually, no. You have to respect the office he occupies, regardless.

        • Anonymous says:

          no, you don't

          • Anonymous says:

            Then you create anarchy if you think that each office holder must personally impress every single individual in order for his office to be accorded respect. Think before you write.

      • Anonymous says:

        hense, the expat attitude.. thanks for ruin cayman

  7. Anonymous says:

    Prove it with tree-shaded bike lanes, more public recreational facilities, and better access to public  health facilities like the track.  That's just the easy stuff you could do right away, if serious.

  8. Dred says:

    Hey Ozzy,

    How about we do something about that here in Cayman….here’s a good start….

    • Reduce duties on healthy foods to allow for them to be more competitive with fatty foods
    • Offer incentives to food outlets who are either deemed:

      • Healthy OR
      • Make a point to offer a variety of healthy alternatives
    • Actively support physical fitness groups and programs (Not talking about giving money to commercial businesses)
    • See what can be done to convince major fast food outlets such as:

      • Pizza Hut
      • Burger King
      • Wendy’s
      • Dominoes
      • KFC

     To see if they can convince head quarters to allow them to offer some healthy foods choices

    • Just Commentin' says:

      I agree with your idea of incentives being a part of a comprehensive way to promote healthier lifestyles. All to often we promote placing of "restrictions" and neglect the effectiveness of rewards and incentives in changing habits.

      While I will agree that certain foods should be avoided at all costs because they offer poor nutritional value. (Most "hotpockets" come to mind), all "fatty" foods are not necessarily  the problem. It is an unmbalanced diet that is the problem. A certain amount fat is a necessary part of our diet. Believe it or not you can end up with a healthy meal at all the fast food places you mentioned. But only those people who already value good nutrition will pass up on the temptation of super extra cheese double bacon triple decker burger and giga-mongous size fries and sugary calorie-laden shakes for healthier options. The potential for a healthy meal is there but just not as popular as it should be.

      It is all about changing attitudes and modifying habits. The most effective healthy lifestyle program starts at home when the child is just beginning on solid food.

      I am with you 100% about Government actively supporting (non-profit) groups that promote a healthy lifestyle.

  9. Anonymous says:


    Ozzie is on the right track but missing a few key features…if you want a country to get better (regular) then provide the resources to allow persons to do so.  Right now you have literally no place to partake in recreational activities save for a few fields of which football is king 24-7-365.  They took the Middle School field (yes the original name) and put a ill fated track in the middle of the pitch, cutting off at least three areas for people to conduct sporting activities. Why was the track not placed on the perimeter?

    I don’t want to even discuss exercise on the roads…your life is truly in danger with roads that have no shoulders or those with shoulders are as dark as ever.

    To fix one problem you need to provide alternative avenues.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ossie got no worries,a turtle dinner with KURT 1200 calories;Fish fry with fritters with Ossie 980 calories;Chicken Sandwich with potato salad with Alden 690 calories;seeing a hospital free of ackee and codfish eaters or a work permit diet……PRICELESS!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Does that mean grilling the fish at his gas station restaurant? Maybe substituting veggies for fritters? Just wondering? May need to find a new fried fish and fritters place soon.

  12. Bling Man says:

    I hope he get my wife to eat less.  She gettin bigga and bigga.  She a cassava mama.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How much weight could the members of the LA lose as leadership toward healthy living?

    I would guess the answer would be in the 100s of pounds.

  14. The lone haranguer rides again! says:

    What about that stink I have to smell every time i drive down the bypass! That’s not healthy.

  15. Anny omis says:

    Given the high rate of diabetes on Island, I think it would be of great benefit to offer free nutritional guidance, and testing, aimed at that segment of the population. It is shocking to me how uninformed many diabetics, and potential type 2 diabetics are. Nutrition needs to be geared to the West Indian diet. I.e. Making curry chicken with boneless skinless chicken breast, substituting cho-cho for potato salad, and brown for white riice, not some US based diet that is unfamiliar.

    I work with 2 diabetics, and their eating habits are absolutely horrible. They don’t know even basic nutritional concepts, and the hospital wants to send them to “a nutritionist” that they have to pay for out of pocket. So, of course, they don’t go. One of them told me that the doctor said he must eat every three hours. His solution, Flaming Hot Cheetos, and KFC.

  16. Security - Stability - Prosperity says:

    Here are my suggestions:


    Raise import duties on food products that contain a lot of fat, sugar or alcohol and in turn lower those on fresh and healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.


    Give incentives for those who exercise and lose weight by reducing their monthly health insurance bill while putting a penalty on those who don't by raising theirs commensurately. Which, of course, won't work if the government (i.e. the taxpayer) pays the bill. This only leads to moral hazard (''Why should I care about my health as long as the government pays for my insurance?'') There is no reason why the community at large is to pay anyone's medical bill and to contribute to people's irresponsible and unhealthy lifestyle. So everyone should pay for his medical insurance himself.


    With these two simple measures, everyone would still be free to eat and exercise as much or as little as he wants, but he will take the responsibility for what he does and bear the cost. This would save the taxpayer a lot of money and ultimately foster a healthy and responsible lifestyle. What do you think, Mr. Bodden?

    • Anonymous says:

      some people can eat fast food every day and be perfectly fit and healthy …it's all about lifestyle choices and how you burn calories…..

  17. Anonymous says:

    His critically obese – in the strict medical sense. This was a ridiculous statement for such an unhealthy man to make

  18. VirginiaLee says:

    It is delightful to see the attention placed on preventive care. The general philosophy even when dealing with these "lifestyle induced illnesses" should be educate not medicate!

    Prayerfully, the Health Ministry, Health Authority and other health figure heads will be able to educate and motivate the majority of our people with the simple but pointed truths that "you are what you eat," "exercise covers a multitude of health sins," and best of all: "it is never too late to turn things around."


  19. Anonymous says:

    osbourne , if you want to make at least 25% of Caymanians healthier then shut down the elevators in GAB.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alright, Mr/Ms Civil Servant. You must be riding the elevators also in order to know this.

  20. Anonymous says:

    As the older people would say: don't do as I do, do as I say lol  

  21. Anonymous says:

    Osborne is clinically obese. Perhaps he should start a program whereby he leads by example. Otherwise all we have is an alcoholic telling others not to drink.

  22. Anonymous says:

    hopefully, the healthy living starts with him. lead by example dude.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Yes Mr Bodden.  Please dont tell me how to live a healthy lifestyle when it is very obvious that you are over weight yourself.  How about being an example to follow!

  24. Baldric says:

    What he needs to 'pick up' is more salad and less fried chicken.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Fancy giving us somewhere to jog without risking our lives on these crazy roads? 

    • Anonymous says:

      the beach perhaps?

      • Anonymous says:

        The beach is on too much of a slope to be a healthy run.  Running at that angle is very bad for knees, ankles and your back.  Only physios and chiropractors would benefit.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why jog? You have the sea and swimming is not only low impact but also a better all round workout.

    • Anonymous says:

      *Safe Haven

      *The newer track built behind the schools, next to the boxing gym/Truman Bodden Sports Complex?

      *The beach

      *If you go to you could participate in all of their events and that'd be a regular workout AND you'd likely be supporting a worthy cause

      *Or you could join a gym or I'm sure you have a friend who has one at their apartment complex if you do not….

      Don't act like you're deprived of places to work out … this is not a political but personal issue.. Ozzie's job (not that I have a WHOLE lot of faith in the man) is to get people to actually participate in activities. Most of my local counterparts idea of a workout is a drive-thru.


  26. Anonymous says:

    What a mess PPm need this messgae themselves.

  27. Anonymous says:

    He's a little too chubby to be telling me how to eat healthy.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fa real !!! At least Mark Scotland was a lil slim jim !

    • Anonymous says:

      At least he exercises.  How about you? Join him at the GYM.

    • Jonas Dwyer says:

      Hes a littl too chubby to, dont do as I do but do as I say is what the MInister is telling you. Get off the man back already!

    • Anonymous says:

      concur bobo. but now that he has the ministry he will most likely be forced to start  exercising and eating healthy. in this case it would have to be, do as i say, and not as i do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Soooo, I wonder if this means he will be shutting down the lil $10 a plate fry fish shack behind his gas station? Oh yea, maybe that overheated, smokin oil pan has been sanctified now. I jus askin ….. 

    • Anonymous says:

      One thing is for sure, he’d probably beat most of us in a political race! Go Os! We would be in a much better position as a country if more of our people were like you!