Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — While promoting participation in the Caribbean Wellness Week 2018 activities being held Sept. 7 to 14, the Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Hazel Laws, encourages everyone to get moving and maintain a healthy diet to reduce the risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

“What we really want during Caribbean Wellness Week is to convince the public about the importance of physical activity, exercise and eating right,” said Dr. Laws, while noting that no matter how busy individuals are, they should still try to find the time to have at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.”

Dr. Laws noted the present life expectancy in the Federation is at about 76 years, which is an increase over past years. She appealed to individuals that essential changes to their lifestyle such as eating healthily and exercising regularly will help them to have a good quality of life in their later years.

“At the end of the day, it is these little daily choices that will foster your health outcomes,” the doctor added.

Dr. Laws said it is important for youth to get involved in physical activity while they are young to form healthy habits for when they become older.

She announced that at the ministry level, a new NCD action plan is being implemented to provide a road map to guide the activities and interventions surrounding NCDs in an effort to decrease the current burden of NCDs in the Federation. She said some of these actions may include the creation of a tobacco policy and taxation.

“A significant proportion of the health budget goes towards the provision of health care to persons diagnosed with these NCDs,” added Dr. Laws, as she stressed that it is important for action on a national level to alleviate some of the pressure of NCDs.

Caribbean Wellness Week is an annual event which provides opportunity to increase the awareness of the non-communicable diseases burden in the Caribbean. It is designed to mobilize and strengthen public, private and civil society partnerships for NCDs. The event showcase national and community level activities to promote healthy living and encourage residents to develop good health practices.