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  • Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says non- communicable diseases (NCDs) take up 70 per cent of the country’s health budget, and represent the biggest public health challenge globally in the 21st Century.
  • Dr. Wheatley says it is against this background that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that member states give this matter “full priority” by developing “policies for the prevention and control” of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.
  • The Minister was speaking at a Diabetes outreach conference at the Jewel Resort, Runaway Bay, St. Ann, on April 26, sponsored by the Universities of the West Indies, Technology and Northern Caribbean.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Dr. the Hon. Andrew Wheatley, says non- communicable diseases (NCDs) take up 70 per cent of the country’s health budget, and represent the biggest public health challenge globally in the 21st Century.

Dr. Wheatley says it is against this background that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that member states give this matter “full priority” by developing “policies for the prevention and control” of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors.

The Minister was speaking at a Diabetes outreach conference at the Jewel Resort, Runaway Bay, St. Ann, on April 26, sponsored by the Universities of the West Indies, Technology and Northern Caribbean.

Dr. Wheatley noted that in 2005, the WHO, in a report, said that some vital investments will be needed to tackle the problem.

“Non-communicable diseases, including diabetes, account for 60 per cent of all deaths worldwide. Four out of every five deaths from chronic diseases come from low and middle income countries,” he said.

The Minister pointed out that innovative dietary management is a proven strategy to combat diabetes, adding that physical activity should also be a part of “any daily routine.”

“Our diet in this country is mostly of complex carbs. Whether yam, wheat or rice, it is just a Jamaican reality. We have to make the conscious decision to eat in moderation and watch exactly what we are putting in our bodies,” he warned.

Dr. Wheatley further added that physical inactivity is a major contributing factor to obesity, “which has been causing all kinds of health issues worldwide.”

“A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of non-communicable diseases,” the Minister advised.

Non-communicable diseases tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioural factors.

The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. They mostly affect people in low and middle income countries.