- Employers are being urged to make use of the physical activity guide/tool kit developed by the Ministry of Health to promote healthy lifestyle practices among workers and combat some of the health issues facing Jamaicans.
Employers are being urged to make use of the physical activity guide/tool kit developed by the Ministry of Health to promote healthy lifestyle practices among workers and combat some of the health issues facing Jamaicans.
Launched in March, the guide contains useful information sheets and forms to be filled out that will help persons assess their own health status.
“The toolkit will help various workplaces, public and private, to set up their own workplace fitness programme. We are encouraging persons to take the evenings after work or the early morning to do some physical activity,” said Permanent Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr. Kevin Harvey.
The Permanent Secretary was addressing the Ministry’s Sports Day on October 16 at the University of Technology (UTech) in St. Andrew.
He was speaking against the background of the high rate of obesity in the country, and the risk this poses for the development of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD).
NCDs, which include heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancers, and chronic kidney disease, are responsible for over 70 per cent of deaths in Jamaica per year.
A report published by the World Bank states that obesity is the most prevalent chronic disorder in Jamaica. It points out that the number of obese people in the island is alarmingly high, especially among adult women.
Senior Health Education Officer in the Ministry, Charmaine Plummer, said that more than 70 per cent of the population is overweight.
“We want movement to be everywhere. People are dying because of a lack of activity. We want the population moving so that we can live a healthy lifestyle,” she added.
Ms. Plummer, who has responsibility for the promotion of physical activity, said that simply having persons attend a gym is not enough.
“Physical activity is not just going to the gym. It is about movement…going to the gym doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to get enough physical activity,” she said.
Throughout the day, the employees, from the various agencies and departments of the Ministry, who were divided into five sports houses, competed in events such as sprinting, lime and spoon and sack races, among others.
The houses were Healthy Strikers, Blood Strikers, Chelsea Warriors, Grenada Titans and St. Josephs.
The departments represented included National Family Planning Board, Registrar General’s Department, Southern Regional Health Authority, and South East Regional Health Authority.