Health Minister Encourages Workplaces to Develop Wellness Programmes

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Jamaica News: Health Minister, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, is encouraging more companies to develop health and wellness programmes in their organisations.

Addressing the ‘We Thrive at Work’ wellness seminar at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on March 14, the Minister said the aim is to promote the well-being of the employee.

“The Ministry also encourages employers to support our national efforts, including Jamaica Moves, to improve the health and wellness of the population in the battle against non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” Dr. Tufton added.

He also informed that as part of the Jamaica Moves initiative, the Ministry is training fitness/physical activity instructors, who will be available to companies to develop health and wellness programmes at the workplace.

“One of the things that we are going to be doing over the next number of months is advertising these services. So if you have a company and you want a health and wellness programme and you don’t have the capacity internally, you can use one of those persons whom we have made available to come in, sit with you and develop a programme in support of your company’s health and wellness,” Dr. Tufton said.

He noted that these services will be at the expense of the employer.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton (left) converses with Executive Coach, Henry Lewis Jr. during the ‘We Thrive at Work’ workshop and seminar at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on March 14. The conference was organised by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and Essential Medical Services.


“It is important that we strive for a well organisation, one that takes a holistic approach to health, including attention to the physical and mental health needs of workers and where a good work-life balance is encouraged and enabled through the implementation of coordinated and comprehensive health promotion and protection strategies,” he noted.

The Minister urged all Jamaicans to embrace the health and wellness agenda, while making healthier choices that reduce lifestyle illnesses associated with NCDs.

“It is a lot more expensive, both to the person as well as to the corporate to try and cure challenges after they have emerged. It is a lot cheaper… and in your best interest as corporate or an individual to deal with prevention,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton also challenged businesses to create a facilitating environment that will assist employees in making better choices.

“I am challenging you today, the sugary drink restrictions in schools, why don’t you try and apply it to your particular offices,” he suggested.

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show that 12.2 million persons, mostly in developing countries, die from an NCD while still at an active working age.

In addition, the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey data show that one in three Jamaicans or 684,000 are hypertensive, with 40 per cent of those persons not knowing that they are; one in eight Jamaicans or some 236,000 are living with diabetes, with approximately 40 person being unaware; and one in two Jamaicans are overweight or obese.

For his part, Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Trevor Fearon, said employees and partners who are imbued with the principles and practices of wellness are more productive persons.

Most non-communicable diseases are the result of four particular behaviours, namely, tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and the harmful use of alcohol, that lead to four key metabolic/physiological changes – raised blood pressure, overweight/obesity, raised blood glucose and raised cholesterol.

The seminar was organised by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and Essential Medical Services.


Source: JIS News

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