OCHO RIOS, St Ann The celebration of Caribbean Wellness Day at the Ocean Village Shopping Centre in Ocho Rios got off to a crisp start early yesterday and was well-supported throughout the day, organisers confirmed.
Yesterday's staging was the sixth Caribbean Wellness Day — an event geared towards encouraging healthy lifestyles and reducing the high level of chronic diseases throughout the Caribbean.
While the day is geared towards promoting a healthy lifestlye, Dr Tamu Davidson-Sadler, director of chronic diseases and injury prevention at the Ministry of Health, who officially opened the wellness day, said that wellness begins in the home, and encouraged persons to start being more proactive about their health.
"Physical activity can prevent many chronic diseases," she said.
She, however, went on to add that being physically active does not only mean going to the gym.
"It may be walking where we don't have to drive; we can walk at work. It may mean taking the stairs; it may mean coming off one bus stop earlier to get where we are going," she stated.
Eating healthy is also a part of taking care of the body, the doctor pointed out. This, she said, included drinking water.
Studies have shown, she said, that Jamaicans consume most of their calories from juices and sugary drinks.
"Substituting that with water and fruits is a way of getting more healthy,"
While the physical aspect is good for health, Dr Davidson-Sadler said that mental health is also of high priority in maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.
"You can't beat that ... the mental health component," she said.
She encouraged persons to get checked in order to know if they are maintaining a fight against chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
"Everybody should get checked ... you need to get checked every year, find a physician, a doctor, a clinic," she said.
"If you don't know your status, you can't do anything about it," she added.
She encouraged persons to utilise the services offered at the event. Visitors were able to get health checks as well as medical consultations at the Ocean Village Shopping Centre. Several physical activities also took place at the event, which ended soon after 6:00 pm.
Organisations such as the National Health Fund, the National Council on Drug Abuse, the Cancer Society of Jamaica, and the St Ann Health Department were among the large number of participants in the day's activities.