JIS News

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department, will be staging a Health Fair at the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), western car park in downtown Kingston, on Saturday, September 13, to mark Caribbean Wellness Day.
Under the theme, ‘Love Your Body, Treat Your Body Right’, the fair, which begins at 2:00 p.m., will feature a number of activities aimed at communicating healthy lifestyle messages to the public, with the broader aim of achieving behavioural change.
Forming part of the day’s activities, is the eagerly anticipated road march from East Parade, Church Street, to Ocean Boulevard and then to the UDC car park at 2:00 p.m. and the 5-kilometre walk/run, which begins at 3:00 p.m., at the intersection of Princess Street and Ocean Boulevard.
Director of Health Promotion and Education in the Ministry of Health and Environment, Takese Foga, in outlining the day’s activities, told JIS News, that there would be screening, blood pressure checks, foot care and blood sugar tests by the Jamaica Diabetes Society, pap smears by the Jamaica Cancer Society and booths exhibiting different healthy lifestyle activities.
The Jamaica Red Cross, she said, would also be observing World First Aid Day on Saturday, and would be on location with first aid demonstrations. Admission, she pointed out, is free.
Presentations on healthy eating and container gardening will be made, by the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI), and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), respectively; physical activity demonstrations, and many other interactive, educational on-stage presentations, will also form part of the event.
While acknowledging that behaviour change is difficult, Miss Foga asserted that the 2008 Caribbean Wellness Day theme, ‘Love Your Body, Treat Your Body Right’, is demonstrative of the need for individuals to begin to understand and reap the benefits of adopting a healthier lifestyle.
“What we want persons to understand is that when you are pursuing good health, when you are being encouraged to do things that are healthy, what you are doing is showing love for your body and treating your body right,” she explained.
“It (Caribbean Wellness Day) is not intended to be a one off thing; it is intended to get the whole population sensitised as to what they can do to adjust their own lifestyle to stop this epidemic,” Ms. Foga added, expressing hope that the activities would not be limited to this week, but would be on-going, in a bid to increase physical activities and improve healthy behaviour.
She said that the activities, although for the general public, would target certain groups. “We want to target those who are living a sedentary lifestyle and are not taking an active approach in preserving good health and those who have not committed to doing something for their own health to begin doing so now,” Ms. Foga said.
Messages will include useful exercise tips, an appeal to reduce fat intake, to get regular blood pressure checks and to reduce the use of tobacco.
Following the Chronic Disease Summit in Trinidad in September 2007, where startling revelations were made regarding the region’s Chronic/Non-communicable disease profile, CARICOM Heads of Government adopted the Declaration of Port of Spain: ‘Uniting To Stop The Epidemic Of Chronic NCDs’, and declared the second Saturday in September, ‘Caribbean Wellness Day’, in commemoration of that landmark Summit.