Minister of Health Julius Timothy is expressing concern over non-communicable disease (NCD) related behavior among the youth in Dominica.
Speaking at the launching of Caribbean Wellness Day on Monday morning, Timothy said NCD-related behavior among the youth is on the rise.
“In today’s technologically dominated society, staying healthy while coping with the demands of school or work, is a key challenge for both the youth and adults,” he said. “Global trends indicated that NCD-related behavior is on the rise among young people and that the established patterns of behavior that persist throughout life and are often hard to change.”
According to Timothy, studies and surveys of Dominican youth have revealed that smoking amongst students is more than twice that of adults. Students who smoke, account for 25 percent while adults stand at 10 percent. Additionally, more students are engaged in the use of alcohol than that of adults: 51 percent of adults use alcohol while 53 percent of students use alcohol.
He noted further that students have poor eating habits and low physical activity levels especially among females.
“This situation is of extreme concern to the ministry of Health as it is known that there are three out of four obese adolescents remain obese as adults and that increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancers,” he said.
Timothy warned that adolescents who start to drink before they are 15 years of age are more likely to abuse alcohol as adults than those who start drinking at 19 years or older.
He added that we must encourage the youth to stay healthy for as long as possible.
In the meantime, a school health and nutrition policy aimed at addressing risk factors to NCDs is being produced by the Ministry of Education and health.