Each year at this time, early January, as a tradition persons the world over make promises, commitments and New Year’s resolutions.
These well intended ambitions are invariably to delete some trait or habit from their daily routine; improve on something that they have been working on, or pursue a goal that they have lapsed on, prior.
The proposed mission generally for the rest of the calendar year, is to do better in their endeavours than what was achieved in the previous twelve months.
Here in St Vincent and the Grenadines, this column is proposing that our resolution for 2024, be for us to get seriously engaged in some physical activities.
This is in light of many of the health challenges that the country is enduring, which are as a result of not enough physical movements among a section of the population.
Furthermore, this suggestion should become a policy statement by the Ministry of Health, at least, as we seek to inflict a dent on the incidences of Non -Communicable Diseases(NCD).
The matter of the relevance of physical activity and physical literacy is well documented.
Notably, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been warning us of the need to be physically active.
As such they have suggested that about five million lives can be saved per annum should persons engage in at least two and a half hours to five hours of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week for all adults.
Relatedly, that children and adolescents should do a minimum of one hour per day.
This is indeed a cue for us, as St Vincent and the Grenadines surely is part of the statistics, as we continue to grapple with deaths relative to NCDs.
Figures show that diabetes has accounted for between 5 % and 10% of the deaths recorded here over the past eight years.
Critically as well has been the number of amputations that has taken place, as a consequence of persons suffering from diabetes.
Given the population of the country, such figures should not be sitting well with us, and an all -out attack should be launched with a view of reversing the trend.
It must be noted that physical activities are not the panacea for NCDs; diet is another of the contributing factor.
But as we highlight the NCDs, mention must be made of the new phenomenon of the acceptable bulging waistline that we see parading the streets of St Vincent and the Grenadines, especially among our women folk.
Without a doubt that excess belly fat that is being allowed to enjoy luxury of the eyes, provide a platform for the NCDs to thrive.
Hence, we have to attack the scourge on all fronts, as it has been having a debilitating effect on the productive sector.
This calls for preventative approaches to be employed, with individuals also taking some responsibilities for their well- being.
Therefore, Vincentians are called upon to utilise the playing fields, the gyms, hard courts, the village roads, and any other areas, to ensure they put in the hours of engagement in exercise and other physical movements.
Not to be left, are the steps of persons’ homes, and other structures around that allow for exercise of the body.
Parents too have to play a greater role in having their children guarded from being sucked into the emerging worrying data.
Getting them to spend less time with the many available gadgets that can become a source of comfortable laziness, will have dire consequences down the road.
Having them cycle, swim, climb fruit trees that are around the neighbourhood, can all contribute to the enhancement of healthy individuals.
Also, having them routinely do chores around the house on a daily basis, add up in the long run.
There is no gainsaying that a healthy population is a wealthy population, as monies can be saved which would have been otherwise spent on corrective medications.
Engagement of physical activities has to become cultural here in St Vincent and the Grenadines unless we are prepared to pay the heavy health price.