Personal responsibility and self-discipline are two critical areas to which every citizen of Barbados must commit if the current levels of non-communicable diseases are to be reversed.
This assertion came from Health Minister John Boyce last Friday, as he addressed the launch of the Massy (Barbados) Charitable Foundation at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
Mr. Boyce told the gathering that while Government was responsible for creating a supportive and enabling environment for the prevention and control of NCDs, individuals must also play their part.
???Despite the Ministry???s efforts to encourage Barbadians to reduce salt and sugar consumption, the latest study, the Health of the Nation Study, has shown there is an increase in obesity in the population and especially among children,??? the Minister submitted.
He maintained that Government???s recent decision to introduce a tax on beverages with added sugars was a direct response to this problem, as it continued its efforts to persuade Barbadians to adopt healthy nutrition practices and reduce the high incidence of NCDs.
???The tax is, in fact, all about health. Taxation is a proven method used in public health to influence positive behaviour, and this is clearly demonstrated in the reduced demand for and consumption of tobacco products after these products were taxed recently,??? he stated.
Noting that the latest study undertaken in Barbados on the direct and indirect cost of diabetes and hypertension indicated an annual expenditure of BDS $225 million, Mr. Boyce further revealed that the social economic cost of the prevention, treatment and control of these diseases to the economy represented about five per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He commended the Massy Group for working with the Ministry of Health and other non-governmental entities in their efforts to make a difference in the lives of Barbadians, and urged other businesses and organisations to follow the example set.
At the launch, the Massy Foundation made donations to eight non-governmental organisations involved in the education, treatment and care of persons suffering with diabetes, cardiovascular ailments, asthma and dementia, as well as the disabled.