Helen Royer

Helen Royer

Non-communicable diseases (NCD) has been the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Dominica over the last ten years, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Helen Royer has revealed.

“Over consumption combined with less physical activity has also led to a growing trend of overweight and obesity among our children,” Royer said, during the launch of Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) on Monday.

To make matters worst NCDs are rising rapidly and low income economies such as Dominica is currently feeling the brunt of it, Royer noted.

“NCDs has now become a major challenge to global development. Unfortunately, low and middle income countries like ours are bearing the brunt of these diseases that will have significant social, economic and health consequences,” she said.

Royer noted that initiatives such as CWD seeks to place emphasis on reversing the trend and effects of NCDs.

“This year we will attempt to place our focus on the youth since we all know that patterns of behavior acquired during childhood and adolescence are more likely to be maintained throughout the life span,” she said.

CWD is observed annually during the second Saturday of September and activities in Dominica include health walks, health sessions, and aerobic classes during the entire month, under the theme “Love That Body, Keep it Bubbling.”

Royer is encouraging churches and Youth groups to promote healthy lifestyles among the public during the month.

Meanwhile Health Educator, Adora Toussaint, pointed out that the goal of CWD is to reduce the burden of NCD by addressing the identified risk factors with the hope that the regions population will be stimulated enough to pay attention to these risk factors and these effects and begin simple and effective lifestyle changes which will influence prevention of and assist in managing NCDs.

An NCD is a disease that is not contagious and risk factors such as a person’s background, lifestyle and environment are known to increase the likelihood of getting the disease.

It is estimated that more than 36 million people die each year worldwide from NCDs.