Barbados joins the rest of the region in observing Caribbean Wellness Day today, with the focus on the ageing population.
Among events planned for the day are a variety of workout sessions hosted by the National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise, including line dancing, ‘dancersize’ and aerobics. The activities will be held at Independence Square from 4:00 p.m.
The annual observation aims to increase awareness and promote activities to address the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which continue to severely impact the health, economy and development of the Caribbean.
In a message to mark the day, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr James Hospedales, noted that physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco use and the harmful use of alcohol are common preventable risk factors that contribute to most NCDs.
“Statistics show that NCDs, which include heart disease some cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, can result in premature morbidity and mortality,” Hospedales said.
He noted that life expectancy has risen sharply in almost every part of the world, and is expected to continue rising.
According to him, in 1995 the number of people aged 60 years and over in the world increased by more than 12 million; nearly 80 percent of this increase took place in developing countries.
“Adapting to the many changes that come with ageing can be a challenge, but looking after our bodies is an important part of healthy ageing,” Dr Hospedales stated.
“By engaging in healthy lifestyle practices such as having a healthy diet, exercising daily and not smoking will not prevent changes that are part of normal ageing, but can reduce our chances of developing heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia, arthritis and other diseases commonly associated with older age.”
Dr Hospedales pointed out that ageing is not only a health issue “but an economic imperative so as to avoid future health costs outstripping pension costs”.
Caribbean Wellness Day is being observed this year under the theme ‘Healthy Lifestyles, Healthy Ageing”.