Jamaican News

Health Minister Encourages Corporate Jamaica to Develop Wellness Programmes

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton is encouraging corporate Jamaica to invest in the welfare of employees, by promoting health and wellness in the workplace, which will result in enhanced productivity.

“I am issuing a challenge to corporate Jamaica to see their employees as the most valuable asset and the state of mind of those employees as the intellectual force that will drive their competitiveness and success and therefore deserves the level of investment that is necessary to make them feel motivated and healthy to do their jobs,” Dr. Tufton said.

He was speaking at the awards ceremony for the National Health Fund’s (NHF) Work-it-Out weight loss Challenge at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday (June 13).

The Minister lamented that corporate Jamaica has “not yet bought in fully” to the Government’s thrust to promote health and wellness among citizens, especially at the workplace, and called for greater support from employers.

“There are thousands of companies in Jamaica who all they care about is that you show up for work , work as hard as you can and after you leave work, it doesn’t matter to them….what happens to you as long as you show up the next day,” he said.

Dr. Tufton suggested that employers consider bringing in a doctor once or twice a year to check the health status of employees; hiring an instructor to conduct work out sessions at the workplace at least once a week; and providing a healthier menu of options for employees.

“We have to get the narrative changed, which is why we have added ‘Wellness’ to the Ministry’s portfolio to get Jamaicans to start taking more responsibility, start engaging in activities that are prevention related, prevention focused and by so doing really enjoy a better quality of life,” he said.

Dr. Tufton said Jamaica has to change its ‘sick profile’ which includes one in three Jamaicans being hypertensive, high levels of obesity and seven of every 10 deaths being due to lifestyle related diseases, by taking greater responsibility for maintaining personal health.

In the meantime, the Health Minister praised the participants of the competition for taking on the challenge to improve their health, and encouraged them to become “crusaders for this cause” by developing their own internal activities and getting more persons involved in the movement.

Dr. Tufton said he was impressed with the results of the six-month long competition which saw 320 teams comprising 1,600 individuals from 11 parishes losing a combined total of almost 2,000 pounds.

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the NHF, Everton Anderson, who himself lost 12 pounds as a member of the NHF’s internal contest, said the competition, which is in its 9th staging, is in keeping with the agency’s thrust to promote healthy lifestyles among the populace, “recognizing the link between living well and being healthy, and the clear link between non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and an unhealthy lifestyle”.

He noted that it yielded significant results, based on a survey of participants, which revealed that 41 per cent achieved their goals over the six months; and 90 per cent have made some positive changes in their lifestyles.

The NHF implemented the Work-It-Out Challenge, a weight loss and fitness competition to encourage Jamaicans to engage in more physical activity, promote healthy eating and health checks.   

The programme seeks to empower and motivate participants to increase their physical activity in their daily lives as well as increase their knowledge of healthy eating habits, regular health checks while having fun. 

source: www.jis.gov.jm

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