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Celebrating better health

The Cayman Islands will join the region in observing the annual Caribbean Wellness Day on Saturday, 10 September.

In its fourth year of observance, the theme remains Love that Body, with a sub theme of From Local to Global as countries are encouraged to showcase national and community efforts to promote healthy living and encourage residents to develop good health practices.

So-called lifestyle diseases or non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as hypertension, ischemic heart disease and stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer, are the leading causes of premature death in the Caribbean. A staggering two of three deaths occurring in persons younger than 70 years results from a chronic disease.

“The importance of living healthily is sadly still underrated – at great personal and national cost,” notes Minister of Health the Hon. Mark Scotland.

“Of course, we can – and should – make a difference by changing our diets, giving up bad habits such as smoking and by making exercise part of our lives. Healthy living is one of the best long-term investments one can ever make,” he adds.

The Public Health Department joins the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the Cayman Islands Heart Fund and Foster’s Food Fair to draw people’s attention to Caribbean Wellness Day and healthy living with free health screenings for non-communicable diseases (hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol).

As part of the Cancer Society’s Health Fair, screenings will be offered on Saturday, 10 September from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel. Public Health staff will also have a nutrition and cancer educational booth.

A plan to tackle non-communicable diseases in the Caribbean was set forth in the 2007 Port-of-Spain Declaration after a meeting of CARICOM heads of state. Included in this declaration was the proclamation of Caribbean Wellness Day.

The alarming growth of non-communicable diseases, and their associated costs and negative socio-economic impacts, has this year also attracted international concern, with the United Nations scheduled to hold a high-level meeting on preventable chronic diseases on 19-20 September this year.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this represents a major opportunity for health policy to take centre stage. This type of meeting on health has only occurred once before when the organisation met in 2001 to discuss the AIDS epidemic.


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