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Story Highlights

  • Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says there is concern about the observed high levels of physical inactivity and obesity in the country.
  • Dr. Ferguson attributed 70 per cent of Jamaican deaths to non-communicable diseases, such as cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • He lauded the Keep It Alive 5K Run as a good investment in preventing these diseases which, he said, are largely preventable through the control of four main risk factors, one of which is physical inactivity.

Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, says there is concern about the observed high levels of physical inactivity and obesity in the country.

Citing the World Health Organization (WHO) report which points to a lack of physical activity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, accounting for six per cent of deaths worldwide, the Minister said the situation is no different in Jamaica.

Dr. Ferguson was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the Guardian Group ‘Keep It Alive’ 5K Night Run, in Kingston, on May 2. “It (physical inactivity) is also the main cause for 21 to 25 per cent of breast and colon cancers. Physical inactivity features in 27 per cent of cases of diabetes and 30 per cent of Ischaemic heart disease (an illness characterized by reduced blood supply to the heart),” the Minister said.

Dr. Ferguson attributed 70 per cent of Jamaican deaths to non-communicable diseases, such as cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. He also pointed out that 34 per cent of these persons die before the age of 70.

He lauded the Keep It Alive 5K Run as a good investment in preventing these diseases which, he said, are largely preventable through the control of four main risk factors, one of which is physical inactivity.

The Minister said that camaraderie, the opportunity to promote physical activity and the manifestation of a fun way to engender a public/private partnership were the three levels on which the investment would be manifested in the Keep it Alive Run.

In giving his endorsement to the event, Dr. Ferguson said: “Let us have more of it because it is time for Jamaica to be at a place where we can have fun with each other, while we look after each other and band together to build a society that is caring, resourceful and united.”