The Ministry of Health and Social Development in collaboration with the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports and the BVI Olympic Committee has launched two initiatives with the goal of increasing physical activity in adults through its Run/Walk for Health programme
These initiatives are being implemented as chronic non-communicable diseases continue to be a concern for the Territory.
Coordinator of Health Promotions Services Ms. Ivy George said that as part of the Run/Walk for Health Programme, Community-based walking clubs/groups are being introduced which will be led by local volunteers called Walk Organisers and 10,000 steps club as viable forms of exercise for members of the public. She stated that these programmes are integrated within the ten year strategy to improve the health of the people of this Territory while reducing the rising number of chronic non-communicable diseases.
“Research has shown that walking in a group helps people stay motivated and social support improve safety and social cohesion, Ms George explained, adding “We also want to see more community groups coming together to exercise and promoting other activities to improve their health and wellbeing because active community participation will help to ensure sustainability and community ownership.”
Ms George noted that based on the STEP survey completed in 2009, 41% of persons in the 25-64 age range do not participate in enough regular physical activity that would protect them from developing non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
“As part of the VI run/walk for Health programme we want to see an increase in the number of adults who participate in regular physical activity, for at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. Walking is a cost effective way of help the population to become more active”, she said.
The Health Promotion Services Coordinator went on to state that as improvement is made to the health of Virgin Islanders, there will be a reduction in non- communicable diseases within the Territory. She invited members of the community to organize community walking groups and to sign up with the Ministry of Health as we all seek to become healthier.
Interested persons can contact the Ministry of Health and Social Development at 468-2273.
The Ministry has also implemented a 10-year strategy to improve the health and well being of the population and reduce the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases.