The Ministry of Health is tackling "worrisome" overweight and obesity numbers in Barbados ???head on’, through its National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise, which has been given another year of life to carry out its mandate.??

This from Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John, who commended the Task Force’s work today, while giving remarks at a two-day workshop for community fitness trainers at the Pan American Health Organisation, Dayrells Road, St. Michael.

Dr. St John noted that the workshop was part of the Ministry’s endeavour to strengthen capacity and better integrate prevention and control of chronic non-communicable diseases into the health care system.?? Among the strategies being considered is the need to better support persons in communities.

"Our deliberations have so far indicated that a number of factors are required in order to have effective and sustained community intervention programmes. These included leadership mobilisation and coordination of resources, awareness raising, collaboration among community groups, churches and NGO’s, improve lines of collaboration between community organisations and policymakers; and clarity about roles and responsibilities," she explained.

The CMO pointed out that 25 per cent of Caribbean adults are obese, some 25 per cent are hypertensive, while the prevalence of diabetes is over 10 per cent in at least four countries.?? "And there is evidence that the situation is worsening.?? What is even more worrisome is that when percentages for overweight and obese persons are combined, the percentage rises to over 50 per cent of the adult population for most CARICOM member states," Dr. St. John said.

She disclosed out that a similar process was, therefore, taking place at the CARICOM level, as Chief Medical Officers were currently refining a draft policy document to address the optimum management of chronic disease.

The workshop, organised and facilitated by the members of the National Task Force, will conclude tomorrow, and includes practical and theory sessions on introduction to fitness, the health benefits of exercise and basic nutrition.????

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