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Individuals and families called on to make positive life enhancing decisions on healthy diet and physical activity.

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (GIS) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a health authority which is part of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, encourages individuals, families and communities to make positive, life-enhancing decisions on healthy diet and physical activity.

 

CPS would also like parents and guardians to foster and encourage healthy dietary choices for children and promote the maintenance of a healthy weight. Parents and guardians of course need to set the proper example in order for kids to follow.

The appeal from CPS is part of the Ministry of Public Health's annual calendar of observances and the focus is on healthy weight and nutrition.

Health is the general condition of a person in all aspects. It is also a level of functional and or metabolic efficiency and a state of being free from illness or injury.

Overall health is achieved through a combination of physical, mental, and social well-being, which, together is commonly referred to as the health triangle.

Weight is a tough issue and many people know how important it is to keep weight in check yet many struggle to do so. However, the health benefits of staying at a healthy weight are huge and well worth the effort.

Keeping your weight in check has benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many different cancers such as breast, colon, kidney, pancreas, esophagus, and high blood pressure.

The Sint Maarten Health Survey of 1999 indicated that diabetes and hypertension was a major problem on the island and that 28 per cent of persons 65 and over had diabetes and was in the top five chronic health groups.

The United Nations health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), last Friday called for action to reduce the exposure of children to the marketing of food with high contents of fat, sugar or salt, which exposed them to the risk of non-communicable diseases (NCD) caused by poor diet during their lives.

Television advertising is responsible for a large share of the marketing of unhealthy foods and, according to available evidence; advertisements influence children's food preferences, purchase requests and consumption patterns, according to the WHO.

In May last year, WHO member States endorsed a new set of recommendations on the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children. The recommendations call for national and international action to reduce the exposure of children to marketing messages that promote foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt, and to reduce the use of powerful techniques to market them to children.

According to WHO, 43 million pre-school children worldwide are either obese or over-weight. Scientific reviews have also shown that a significant portion of television advertising that children are exposed to promotes "non-core" food products which are low in nutritional value.

Poor diet is one of the four common factors associated with the four main non-communicable diseases – cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic lung diseases – which are responsible for about 60 per cent of deaths worldwide, or over 35 million people annually.

More than nine million deaths are premature – people dying before reaching the age of 60 – and could be prevented through low-cost measures at the world's disposal, including stopping tobacco use, reducing the harmful use of alcohol, and promoting healthy diets and physical activity.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 23 January 2011 16:36 )