Minister of Health, Donville Inniss,??(from left) Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John and wife of the Prime Minister and??head of the National Task Force??on Physical Activity, Mara Thompson,??enjoying the activites on Caribbean Wellness Day recently.
The inaugural meeting of the National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise is set for September 29 at the Ministry of Health, Jemmott’s Lane.
The newly-formed body force is expected to get down to its first order of business on that day, having been given a broad mandate by the Health Ministry ‘to develop new ways to engage the population on a national level regarding the beneficial effects of exercise and physical activity, and to develop well thought-out programmes to involve Barbadians from all walks of life in a national exercise initiative".
The task force is being led by Mrs. Mara Thompson, wife of Prime Minister David Thompson, and includes a number of volunteers.
They are: Jasper Blades, Track and Field Coach, National Sports Council; Vaneisha Cadogan, Senior Education Officer in the Ministry of Education; Lisa Bayley, Assistant Information Officer at the Barbados Government Information Service; Kenneth Griffith, Physical Fitness Professional and Personal Trainer; Michael Small, Physical Education teacher at Combermere; James Farmer,?? Director, Olympic Academy, Barbados Olympic Association; Charmaine Walkes-Browne, of Ocean Fitness Gym; and Mr. Brian Payne, Community Nutrition Officer, National Nutrition Centre.
The Ministry of Health, in particular its Health Promotion Unit, will provide administrative support to the group.
Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, at the recent opening of Caribbean Wellness Day 2009, stressed the importance of this entity, when he acknowledged that over the ensuing months it would deliver "a highly visible campaign of support for the increase of physical activity levels among a wide cross section of persons across multiple settings in Barbados".
The Minister urged members of the general public, the private and public sectors, as well as non-governmental organisations to do all that was within their power to support the work of the task force, and to place active living and healthy lifestyles high on their own personal agenda.
He said: "I implore all health care professionals in particular to view increasing physical activity and getting your patients moving as a central rather than a peripheral issue. The concept of exercise by prescription must therefore be explored as a mechanism for the prevention of chronic disease and as a process to enhance the pharmacological management of life-style related disorders."