Gov’t to Place Greater Focus on Chronic Diseases


Health Minister, Rudyard Spencer, has said that the Government will be placing greater emphasis on chronic diseases, as it seeks to improve the health status of Jamaicans.
“One of the priorities of the Government is to improve the health status of Jamaica’s population by tackling chronic diseases that cause significant morbidity and mortality across the lifecycles,” Mr. Spencer said in a message delivered on his behalf by Ambassador to the United States, Anthony Johnson, at the Jamaica Women of Washington’s (JWOW) sixth annual Tea Off for Good Health fundraiser, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. recently.
A 2000 healthy lifestyle survey revealed that physical inactivity, poor diet, obesity and tobacco use, were associated with the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases in Jamaica.
The Health Minister pointed out that 31 per cent of males and 61 per cent of female were classified as obese or overweight, which 42 per cent of Jamaicans were sedentary or engaged in low levels of physical activity.
Mr. Spencer commended JWOW on its selection of obesity as its area of focus for this year, noting that, “this is an area of great concern for us.”
Citing a recent health report, he said that the global epidemic of obesity, is increasing rapidly with developing countries such as Jamaica, facing the prospect of a doubling of health conditions such as Type II diabetes.
According to the Minister, obesity and the associated lifestyle diseases have become more prevalent among children and adolescents. A recent youth behavioural risk survey revealed that 11 per cent of adolescents age 10 to 15 years and 25 per cent of adolescents age 15 to 19 years, were classified as overweight or obese.
Minister Spencer lauded the organization for its continued support and interest in the health of Jamaicans.
Mrs. Lorna Golding, wife of Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, members of the Caribbean diplomatic corps and DC government officials were among those who attended the event, which focused on combating obesity in Jamaica, and highlighted the importance of promoting a culture of wellness and adopting healthy lifestyles.
The Combined Disabilities Association of Jamaica and the University of the West Indies (UWI) Development and Endowment Fund were awarded grants of US$10,000 and US$5,000 respectively, by JWOW.
JWOW has contributed US$175,000 to a number of charitable organizations in Jamaica over the past five years. The charities that have benefited are: Jamaica AIDS Support; Mensana Community for the Upliftment of the Mentally Ill; Westmoreland Association of Street People; Children First; St. Ann Community Centre for Cancer; Women’s Media Watch; Family and Parenting Centre; and Western Society for the Upliftment of Children.

JIS Social