Tufton urges parents, teachers to promote healthy lifestyles among students

Monday, July 16, 2018

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Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton has reiterated to parents and teachers the need for behaviour change that will lead to improved lifestyle choices among school-aged children.

Delivering the keynote address at the National Parent Teacher Association of Jamaica's (NPTAJ) 6th Biennial General Meeting and Conference at Jamaica College on Saturday, Tufton said that, among the referenced group, obesity levels have doubled in the past seven years.

“If it continues on that trajectory, it means that our children are going to be, at a very early age, having disease profiles that will affect their productivity and devastate family resources,” the Minister said.

Statistics from the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey, 2007/8, shows that 25.3 per cent of Jamaicans are obese.

Dr Tufton noted that obesity is a serious threat to an individual's well-being, which, if not brought under control, “will just damage us as a people, and as a country.”

The health minister also urged the NPTAJ to assist in promoting a balanced diet among the student population as a means of reducing the obesity levels.

Dr Tufton said the Government is playing its part to combat unhealthy lifestyle choices with the introduction of the 'Jamaica Moves' programme in high schools this September.

Speaking during his contribution to the 2018/19 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives in June, the minister noted that the programme will be introduced in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. It is to be guided by a nutrition policy, a physical activity regime, as well as public education on health and wellness programmes.

Jamaica Moves is part of the National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, which covers seven main categories of diseases — cardiovascular conditions, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, sickle-cell, mental health disorders, and chronic renal failure.


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