Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes to cost $77 Billion over Next 15 Years

Photo: Donald De La Haye Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, addresses the launch of the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K at Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew on Tuesday, October 24.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says it will cost Jamaica approximately $77 billion over the next 15 years to treat people suffering from cardiovascular-related diseases and diabetes.
  • Dr. Tufton said the statistics coming from a recent study done by a group of experts justifies the Government’s push for Jamaicans to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including being more physically active.
  • He was speaking at the launch of the 2017 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K at the Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew on Tuesday (October 24).

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says it will cost Jamaica approximately $77 billion over the next 15 years to treat people suffering from cardiovascular-related diseases and diabetes.

“The data suggest that just from two sets of diseases it will cost us some $77 billion …just to deal with the treatment cost and the loss of productivity from persons who are affected within those two categories alone,” he said.

He was speaking at the launch of the 2017 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K at the Alhambra Inn in St. Andrew on Tuesday (October 24).

Dr. Tufton said the statistics coming from a recent study done by a group of experts justifies the Government’s push for Jamaicans to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including being more physically active.

He is imploring persons living with these conditions and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) to make exercise a part of their daily habit.

“It is said that if you are unfit and have a non-communicable or a lifestyle disease, be prepared to spend up to a third of your disposable income in treating with that particular ailment. Now, when you put it in that context, you are talking about it hitting your bottom line. It’s affecting your pocket. Not to mention the pain and the suffering and the inconvenience… from having to go to the doctor or take 15 tablets a day,” he pointed out.

The Health Minister hailed the Reggae Marathon as a good initiative, and encouraged persons living with NCDs to train for and participate in the event.

“It is so important that, as part of our policy framework, we preach, we teach, we demonstrate the importance of what a Reggae Marathon is promoting, separate and apart from the fun, the enjoyment and the experience… that it has implications for your well-being (and) your health,” he contended.

The Reggae Marathon, slated for December 2 in Negril, Westmoreland, will conclude the Jamaica Moves Get Moving Corporate Challenge.

Launched in July, the challenge invites companies to compete in six Running Events-organised activities across the island from September 10 to December 2.

Already held were the Fortis 5K Run on September 10; Colour Me Happy Powder Charity Run, September 16; the CUMI Come Run Walk/Run, September 23; and the Heroes in Action 5K Run/Walk, October 15.

In addition to the Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, the University of the West Indies (UWI) 5K Walk/Run will be held on November 12.

The ‘Jamaica Moves’ campaign, which was officially launched in April, encourages Jamaicans to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity along with healthy eating habits in their daily lives, in order to reduce the incidence of NCDs among the population.

NCDs such as diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers account for 70 per cent of total deaths in Jamaica.

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