- Some $400,000 has been disbursed to persons who participated in the National Health Fund (NHF), 2014 Weight Loss Competition.
- The initiative, which kicked off in April, lasted for six months and saw the winners, which included individuals and teams receiving their trophies and certificates on Thursday, November 13, at an awards ceremony held at the New Kingston Conference Centr
- The Jamaica Observer, walked away with the winning prizes for both categories of the competition.
Some $400,000 has been disbursed to persons who participated in the National Health Fund (NHF), 2014 Weight Loss Competition.
This was the sixth staging of the competition which was launched as part of efforts to reduce chronic illnesses.
The initiative, which kicked off in April, lasted for six months and saw the winners, which included individuals and teams receiving their trophies and certificates on Thursday, November 13, at an awards ceremony held at the New Kingston Conference Centre.
The Jamaica Observer, walked away with the winning prizes for both categories of the competition.
In his address, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, underscored the need for increased physical activity to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). He said this year’s competition saw the introduction of individual diet consultations, and personal diet plans. Winners received cash prizes of up to $30,000, collectable in exercise equipment at sport outlets.
According to Mr. Anderson, feedback from the participants indicates that “they were compelled to change their dietary habits. Statistics show that chronic illnesses like hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes continue to place significant burden on our population”.
In its thrust to reduce the burden of chronic illnesses, the NHF has an “increased focus” on building “partnerships and alliances so we work together to combat chronic diseases, improve health and wellness and by extension, productivity,” he told the gathering.
The competition is aimed at encouraging individuals to change their lifestyle to achieve a healthier mind and body. During the twenty 24-week contest, emphasis was placed on diet and the importance of physical activities for the maintenance of good health. Twenty-two teams from companies across the island completed the competition, which resulted in a total of 114 persons losing weight.
Individual winner in the competition, Beverley Clarke-Johnson, said it has helped her to change her eating habits, improve her diet, and lose weight. “Our journey has not ended, and we are going to continue,” she stated.
For Wellness Programme Coordinator at the NHF, Debbie Guiness-Brown, the participants have completed a task that has moved them “closer to great health.” She said the agency will continue to develop and execute “successful prevention programmes that are designed to motivate and encourage healthier lifestyle”.
She reiterated that this is crucial to reducing the risks of chronic diseases. “We would like to see more organisations providing healthy canteen offerings, put in place exercise programme, couselling sessions, health screening and fitness programmes. The workplace culture and environment are powerful influences on behaviour change, and they need to be put to use as a means of assisting employees to adopt healthier lifestyles,” she asserted.