Wear your sneakers Friday to show support for healthy living


In the fight to reduce the growing trends in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the CARICOM Heads’ Summit on Chronic Diseases established Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) in 2007. Caribbean Wellness Day is an annual event that provides opportunities to increase awareness of the NCD burden in the Caribbean; promote multi-country, multi-sectorial activities in support of wellness; and showcase national and community level activities to promote healthy living while encouraging residents to develop good health practices. 

This year, CWD was held on Sept. 9 and is followed by seven days of activities aptly titled Caribbean Wellness Week. Our focus in 2017 is on youth aged 15-29 with the theme “Securing a Future Generation through Healthy Eating and Not Smoking.”

In light of this, Friday, Sept. 15, has been designated as National Sneaker Day to promote healthy living through increased physical activity. On this day, nationals and residents island-wide are encouraged to wear sneakers with their usual corporate/work attire. The aim of this activity is to encourage persons to incorporate more physical activity into their day. 

The Ministry of Health wishes to stress the point that insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for NCDs within the federation. Regular physical activity of moderate intensity – such as walking, cycling, or doing sports – has significant benefits for health. To achieve these benefits, people should engage in physical activity up to 2½-5 hours a week or 45 minutes per day for three to five days per week. People can easily achieve the recommended activity levels by becoming more active throughout the day. Physical activity, however, should not be confused with “exercise,” which is planned, structured, repetitive and aims to improve and maintain physical fitness. 

The Ministry of Health invites all high schools, colleges, universities, government ministries, business entities, and civil society organizations to participate in the National Sneaker Day event to ensure its success. Participants are encouraged to take selfies and post on various social media platforms with the hashtag #SKBsneakerday2017.

The Ministry of Health, through this event, is seeking to provide an opportunity to increase awareness of the impact that NCDs have on the nation’s social and economic infrastructure – such as the high cost of health care, medication, disability, absenteeism from work, and reduced national productivity.  The ministry also wants to help people, in particular, youth, to become more aware of the importance of overall health and well-being, and to showcase national and community level activities that promote healthy living and encourage residents to develop good health practices.