J'cans urged to check if they are hypertensive

J'cans urged to check if they are hypertensive

Thursday, December 13, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, says the recent Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey shows that 40 per cent of persons who are hypertensive are unaware, and this is of great concern.

According to Dr Tufton, more lives can be spared from this condition, and for this to happen, he is calling on the unaware to get regular check-ups and abide by the prescribed practices of physicians.

Dr Tufton was speaking at the Rotary Club of St Andrew weekly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, at Hotel Four Seasons in St Andrew.

“The Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey, which was published about eight weeks ago, is a very comprehensive study looking at a representative sample of the population, done by the University of the West Indies in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and a number of other stakeholders. It shows that one in three Jamaicans or 684,900 Jamaicans who are 15 years and older are hypertensive, and 40 per cent of those who are hypertensive are unaware of their condition,” he said.

He also noted that the survey shows that one in eight Jamaicans, 15 years or older, or some 236,000 persons are diabetic, and that four out of every 10 are unaware that they have that particular condition.

In terms of obesity and overweight, Dr Tufton pointed out that the study reveals that one in two Jamaicans over 15 years old or some 577,000 persons are affected.

“It is more worrying if you look at the younger age cohort. Obesity levels among our children in schools have almost doubled over the last seven years,” he said.

He added that the number of obese children is showing a trend of doubling within seven-year periods, and if this continues, then there will be implications for Jamaica in the long run, and it is the responsibility of adults to guide children to proper health and nutrition and prevent the trend from continuing.

To tackle this problem, especially among the children, Dr Tufton said the Ministry of Health will continue to roll out the Jamaica Moves programme in schools across the island in January, along with the reduction of sugary drinks in schools.

“The Jamaica Moves programme, aimed at getting Jamaicans to be more physically active, and helping them to understand the implications of diet on obesity and on their disease risks or profiles, is an attempt at prevention, and so far, it has been a successful campaign in terms of engagement,” he added.

Dr Tufton said the young people are eating and drinking themselves sick. “They spend more time on the laptop and the computers. They don't engage in physical activity and they eat the salt and sweet snacks and, of course, drink the sugary drinks,” he noted.

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