Jamaica Moves in Communities revitalised Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is renewing its Jamaica Moves in Communities initiative as part of the ongoing thrust to curtail the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among Jamaicans.

The initiative focuses on promoting the consumption of healthy foods, regular physical activity, and preventive health management at the community level.

It is an offshoot of the Jamaica Moves campaign, which aims to establish a multi-sectoral partnership to advance the promotion of healthy lifestyle practices.

These include healthy eating, physical activity and annual or age-appropriate health checks.

The promotion of mental wellness and the prevention of substance use are also significant aspects of the programme.

A forum was held recently at the Altamont Court Hotel in New Kingston, which focused on coordinating efforts and resources to support the expansion and implementation of comprehensive and targeted health promotion programmes across communities island-wide.

The event was attended by representatives from the public and private sectors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and faith-based and civil society groups.

State Minister in the Health Ministry, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, who addressed the session, said strengthening community action is key in promoting healthy lifestyle at the national level.

She said the ministry intends to collaborate with various stakeholders to drive public health policy and create supportive environments in the fight against NCDs.

“Poor nutrition, heightened by excessive consumption of salts, fats, along with an inactive lifestyle, are notable risk factors for NCDs. In other words, they are preventable, and if we are to build a healthier Jamaica, we must have all hands on deck,” the state minister said.

She cited the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey (2016-2017), which showed that one in three Jamaicans, 15 years and older, suffers from hypertension; one in eight Jamaicans is diabetic; while four out of 10 Jamaicans with either diabetes or hypertension are unaware of their status.

At the same time, more than half of the population is either pre-obese or obese, especially among persons 35 to 64 years old.

“This increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes by 20 to 30 per cent. In Jamaica, 12 per cent of deaths is caused by physical inactivity,” Cuthbert Flynn pointed out.

She said 82 per cent of Jamaicans are engaged in low-level physical activity; 16 per cent are engaged in moderate activity; and only two per cent are engaged in high-level physical activity.