BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — With 83 percent of deaths in the Federation attributed to Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Ministry of Health has planned a week of activities between Sept. 8-14 during Caribbean Wellness Week 2018. The theme of the event is, “Maintaining a Healthy Workforce through Movement and Diet,” and the slogan “SKN-Nation on the Move.”

The death rate due to Non-communicable Diseases is posing a tremendous challenge to the economy with deaths in a wide range group, between 30 – 70 years of age which is a real threat to the health of working age adults. The Ministry of Health is focusing on promoting movement and healthy eating, which are two critical steps towards reducing the risk of NCDs to create a healthier, happier nation.

Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hazel Laws, said that Caribbean Wellness Week is an initiative aimed at promoting health and wellness to motivate the public to make healthy lifestyle choices.

“During Caribbean Wellness Week, we will encourage/motivate the public to make healthy lifestyle choices regarding four risk factors,” she said, while noting that based on medical evidence, there are four modifiable behavioral risk factors that lead to the development of NCDs, which are physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, harmful use of alcohol and use of tobacco.

She emphasized that this year, the ministry’s focus is on promoting at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week and eating more plant based and unprocessed foods, including at least three servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

“This year we want to stimulate more physical activity and exercise and we want to motivate more healthy eating habits among our people. Life is a choice. Our lives become defined by our choices. If we exercise and eat right, we will enjoy better health outcomes. It’s as simple and as complex as that,” she added.

Activities taking place for this year’s Caribbean Wellness Week includes Caribbean Wellness Day Walk on Sept. 8 from 5:00am; Faith-Based Health Screening at local churches on Sept. 9; Health and Family Life Endurance Test being spearheaded by the Ministry of Education on Sept. 10; “Take 5” Nutrition Programme Campaign on Sept. 11; Day of Rest on Sept. 12; National Health and Wellness Fair on Sept. 13; and National Sneaker Day and Soca-cise workout at the St. Kitts Marriot on Sept. 14.

The Chief Medical officer encouraged person to make use of social media and use the hashtag #SKNonthemove&eatingright during Caribbean Wellness Week and share how they are staying on the move and maintaining a healthy diet.