NCDS Leading Cause of Death in Jamaica

Photo: Garwin Davis Regional Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marceleen Wheatle, addresses a recent Think Tank at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Regional Office in Montego Bay.

Story Highlights

  • Regional Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marceleen Wheatle, says non-communicable diseases (NCD) have emerged as the leading cause of death in Jamaica over the past 30 years.
  • Speaking at a JIS Think Tank at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office on Monday (May 7), Ms. Wheatle noted that the Health Ministry continues to push healthy eating and physical activity as the primary tools in the fight against the NCDs, whuch include cardiovascular diseases, heart attack and stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.
  • “Physical activity plays a highly significant role in achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Increasing physical activity is a societal problem and not just an individual one that demands a population-based, multisectoral, multidisciplinary and culturally relevant approach,” she pointed out.

Regional Health Promotion and Education Officer at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Marceleen Wheatle, says non-communicable diseases (NCD) have emerged as the leading cause of death in Jamaica over the past 30 years.

Speaking at a JIS Think Tank at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office on Monday (May 7), Ms. Wheatle noted that the Health Ministry continues to push healthy eating and physical activity as the primary tools in the fight against the NCDs, whuch include cardiovascular diseases, heart attack and stroke, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes.

“Physical activity plays a highly significant role in achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Increasing physical activity is a societal problem and not just an individual one that demands a population-based, multisectoral, multidisciplinary and culturally relevant approach,” she pointed out.

Ms. Wheatle said the prevalence of NCDs is increasing throughout the world and that in spite of the provision of public health education, many persons are still not taking the matter seriously.

“NCDs have emerged as the leading cause of death globally, accounting for more than 50 per cent of deaths in developing countries and more than 80 per cent of deaths in developed countries.

These diseases share four common behavioural risk factors, namely, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol,” she pointed out.

She said the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that NCDs disproportionately affect people in low- and middle-income countries where more than three quarters of global NCD deaths occur.

Acting Parish Health and Promotion and Education Officer, Julian Grandison-Mullings, said the ‘Jamaica Moves’ campaign, which was launched by the Ministry of Health, has helped to garner the interest of persons and keep physical activity on the health agenda.

She said the gains from the campaign will be reinforced through the staging of World Move for Health Day on Thursday, May 10.

The St. James Public Health Services is collaborating with the Ministry on the staging of a day of activity at Sam Sharpe Square, Montego Bay.

“It is hoped that the planned activities will educate and empower individuals to make physical activity and healthy eating a part of their daily routine,” Mrs. Grandison-Mullings said.

Activities include celebrity cook-off, kiddies’ village, body massage, beauty makeover, best fitness outfit and fitness competitions, and sharing of fitness testimonials.

“A rapid risk-assessment instrument will be developed and administered among 50 individuals participating in the event to gain insight as to who the individuals participating in the event are, and what are their perceived risks in relation to physical activity and healthy eating,” Mrs. Grandison-Mullings informed.

She explained that “by no means will any generalisation be done with the data, but this may assist with other research of this nature”.

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