Between 62 and 64 per cent of the Barbadian population are either overweight or obese, while at least 22 per cent of all adult Barbadians are hypertensive.

This information was revealed by patron of the National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise, Mara Thompson, last Saturday as she addressed a workshop for community fitness trainers sponsored by the Task Force, under the aegis of the Ministry of Health.

According to Mrs. Thompson, the statistics made a compelling case for efforts to be intensified to help Barbadians identify options for practising and maintaining healthy behaviours.

This initiative by the Task Force to provide fitness trainers with the skills necessary to organise physical activity sessions in the community setting, whether neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, churches or otherwise, was therefore very timely, she added.

???These facilities where people live, learn, work or fellowship affect their health and wellbeing, as well as their chances for achieving the highest quality of life. They have their own stakeholders and local resources such as knowledgeable people, meeting places, open spaces and means of sharing information. Although these are not financial resources, they are not to be overlooked and can be taken into account when community-based physical activity programmes are being planned,??? she suggested.

Mrs. Thompson noted that in order to have effective and sustained community intervention programmes, the factors necessary included leadership, mobilisation and coordination of resources, improved collaboration between community organisations and policy-makers, and clarity about roles and responsibilities.

The workshop was the third organised by the Task Force for community fitness trainers.

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