Member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) today simultaneously launched activities to highlight Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD), which will be celebrated on Saturday, September 12.

In addressing participants at the launch, which was held via video conference in the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) Unit and in other offices throughout the region, Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM Dr. Edward Greene expressed concern with the mortality and morbidity rates of persons with Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) in the Caribbean.??

He stressed that there was a need to inculcate an awareness of healthy practices in the region. Consequently, he pointed out that Caribbean Wellness Day, as part of the 15 actionable point Port of Spain Declaration made in 2007, at the Regional Summit on Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases in the Caribbean, should have some impact in terms of promoting healthy lifestyles.

Dr. Alafia Samuels, Consultant with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)/CARICOM on CNCD control, also addressed persons at the video conference.?? She explained that 16 CARICOM countries were uniting this year to reduce the high incidences of NCDs in the region.

According to her, they were all celebrating the day under the theme "Love that Body", or some variation of that slogan.??

She reiterated the fact that the Caribbean had the highest statistics for CNCDs in the Latin American region and made a call for more "healthy fast food" to be made available to persons. Dr. Samuels also urged proprietors of cafeterias in schools to make healthier choices available to students and noted that everyone should be involved in some form of physical activity.

Activities throughout the region in celebration of CWD will include health fairs, a health festival, a 10 kilometre run, dance-a-thons and demonstrations of healthy cooking. In Barbados the Ministry of Health will host a fun walk on Saturday, September 12, which will be concentrated in the Bridgetown area.??

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