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JIS News

President of the University of Technology (UTech), Professor Errol Morrison, is to participate in the International Congress on Sports for Peace and Development, which is being hosted by the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, from September 13 to 16.
Professor Morrison will be a panellist at the round table discussion on ‘Sports for Peace and Development: Social, Economic, Education, Cultural, Environmental and Political Dimensions’.
In an interview with JIS News, the President Utech said he would be emphasising the fact that if more Jamaicans were involved in sports, physical activity and exercise, it would improve the health, quality of life and productivity of the population.
“We want to promote more physical activity among the population in general. What we mean by physical activity, which includes sports and exercise, is any major muscular movement resulting in energy expenditure over and above the resting state. We want people to reduce their sedentary existence, and move about more, just using up that energy intake that they are having in their meals and drink,” he said.
“Physical activity is the kind of thing that when regularly undertaken, can certainly improve quality of life and conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity,” he added.
While some persons might think of physical activity as that which will only bring benefits on an individual level, the Professor in his paper, ‘Sports as a Door to Holistic Fitness’, points out that on the contrary, it can have a significant impact on the country and the Government coffers.
“Regular physical activity results in stress reduction, work productivity and increased opportunities to develop social capital, through socialisation and personal and community development,” he wrote in his paper.
“Data from the UK Government suggest that a target of 70 per cent of the population engaging in regular physical activity, would cut annual sick leave among the working population of some 29 million, by almost three million sick days, reduce the cost to the national health service by some 80 million British Pounds annually and boost the British economy by 487 million British Pounds annually,” he added.
Given this situation, Professor Morrison believes that there needs to be a refocus on young people, as it relates to physical activity, as in the long run, it will redound to the benefit of the nation.
“Many of our schools today don’t have physical education as part of their curriculum any more and we want to inculcate this kind of physical activity from literally the womb to the tomb. We need to reintroduce it to the curriculum of the schools, the early childhood, the primary, secondary and the tertiary schools. They need to have this opportunity to understand and get involved in some physical activity, that will help them in their day to day life,” he said.
Jamaica has been getting a lot of attention since its performance at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, and Professor Morrison is of the opinion that if the people can adopt a culture that embraces physical activity, then the country can set an example for the rest of the world to emulate.
“The Beijing Olympics, represent the pinnacle of the sporting activity from the point of view of athletics, but it underpins the whole potential that the country has for performing at an international level and we are going to be in the focus internationally. If we can begin to demonstrate that we are very conscious of the role of a healthy lifestyle, in the quality and productivity of our people, then I think we can be a beacon to the rest of the world. We may not have a lot of money, but our quality of life and our style of life is one that can certainly be an example to the rest of the world,” he argued.
The Congress will be opened by Prime Minister Bruce Golding, today (September 13).
Sports Ministers from CARICOM and experts from Cuba, Spain, Kenya, Cameroon, the UK, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Inter-governmental Committee on Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS), will take part in the Congress, which is being held in association with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).