Senator Newby Says Wellness Can Cut Public Spending


Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, Senator Warren Newby, says wellness should be promoted as a policy ideal of the country.
While endorsing the Welch’s Heart Health Fund Run planned for Sunday (November 29), Senator Newby said that health focussed activities, like the Run, could help to cut the country’s expenditure, as a healthy lifestyle can reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases.
“We believe that if we were able to reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases, there would be considerable cost saving to government and to public expenditure, which is already high,” he said at the launch of the Fund Run at the Altamont Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday (November 3).
Senator Newby noted that the Ministry recognised the importance of regular exercise to good health, which is why it was promoting sports for all. He said that the National Sports Policy, being crafted by the Ministry, would ensure that all Jamaicans, from amateur to professional, have a chance to participate in sports.
He also pointed out that increased physical activity and a healthy lifestyle could help to relieve stress and increase productivity.
“There is a positive relationship between healthiness and productivity. We have found that there are many lifestyle illnesses that can be avoided or managed more effectively, if more Jamaicans participated in sports, if more Jamaicans became active,” said.
The Heart Health Fund Run is a sponsored walk, jog or run in which schools, companies or any other interested group can participate. Groups are encouraged to collect sponsorship forms and flyers at the office of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, Beechwood Avenue, Kingston.
The event will run between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. at the National Stadium (East) and will feature entertainment, spot prizes, refreshments and medical checks by the Heart Foundation. Awards for groups who collect the most sponsorship, or participate with the largest team, will be presented at an awards ceremony during Heart Month in February, 2010.
The Heart Health Fund Run has been an ongoing event on the Heart Foundation’s calendar since 1987, and not only raises funds to support the work of the Foundation, but also emphasizes the benefits of exercise to a healthy heart.
Executive Director of the Foundation, Deborah Chen, shared that approximately 47 per cent of persons who had blood pressure checks done by the Foundation in 2008, fell in two of the worst categories of high blood pressure, and over 40 per cent of them did not know they had blood pressure problems.
She said that 64.2 per cent of those tested were overweight, while 29.4 had abnormal electrocardiogram results, many of whom did not know they had a heart problem.
The Executive Director announced that the Foundation is looking to start, within the next two years, a Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme. She said persons who have had a heart attack or bypass surgery or have two or three risk factors for heart disease, will be able to go to a special gym at the Foundation’s offices where they can be placed on structured programmes and their vital signs monitored.
“When you have a heart attack and you go home after you are discharged, you’re really not sure how much you are supposed to do and, because of that, you probably do a lot less and your fitness suffers,” she explained.
The Fund run has received endorsements from the MVP Track Club and the Jamaica Amateur Athletics Association (JAAA).

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