The Ministry of Health is actively seeking to identify innovative approaches to boost the quality of health care for the prevention and control of Chronic Non-Communicable (NCDs) diseases.

This comes in light of a report from the International Diabetes Foundation, stating that some 15 per cent of adults in Barbados have diabetes, thus placing them at risk of developing ???any number of serious health issues???.

Health Minister, John Boyce made this disclosure this morning, while addressing the opening of the Barbados Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) and the Bridgetown SDA Primary School Health Week, under the theme: Promoting Healthy Living, at the Seventh-Day Adventist Secondary School, Dalkeith, St. Michael.

He told his audience, which included Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart, educators and students, that the Health and Mental Study, which provided an interim report for 2013 on the status and risk factors among the population, showed that 40 per cent of adults have hypertension; 22 have raised cholesterol; and 57 per cent of adult men and 69 per cent of adult women were overweight or obese.

???We use the term Body Mass Index (BMI) as the first and easiest method of assessing if obesity is a concern. BMI is the weight of a person in kilogrammes divided by the square of your height in metres??? the acceptable ratio varies for age, and in children between the ages of 10 and 18, like at your school, the internationally accepted measure is 18 at the lower end, that???s around the age of 10 to 12, and 22, at ages around 19 or 20.

???So, as I said before, we can look around and with not even doing the math, get some idea of the magnitude of the problems which speak to the effect of NCDs,??? he outlined.

Therefore, churches across Barbados are ideally positioned, the Minister added, to disseminate the message regarding health and wellness.????????Systems of distribution of information can be and must be utilised through church members who have skills and experience in health education,??? the Minister underscored.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart congratulated the SDA Secondary School for promoting healthy living with spiritual well-being. He told those present that Government was committed, along with the SDA Church, to ensuring a shift from curative health care to preventive health care where ???we accentuate the importance of healthy lifestyles???.

There was also a need, the Prime Minister said, to emphasise to students that if they were going to have a healthy mind, then they must be careful what they consumed.??Mr. Stuart further reiterated that one way to combat unhealthy eating practices was early sensitisation.

He pointed out that if we reared a population where seven out of 10 people suffered from some form of NCDs, it would affect the performance of those Barbadians when they grew up and entered the workforce, as well as in their family and community lives.??The health week, which began today, ends on Friday, June 5.

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