Caribbean Prime Ministers, Chief Minister, officials walk to keep fit in St. Kitts

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 6TH 2011 (CUOPM) – St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Chairman of the Caribbean Community, the Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and several of his regional colleagues braved inclement weather early Saturday morning on the annual walk during the Heads of Government Conference.

St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Hon. Stephen King; Montserrat’s Chief Minister, Hon. Reuben Meade; St. Vincent’s Foreign Minister, Dr. the Hon. Douglas Slater; St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas; Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Baldwin Spencer and Grenada’s Prime Minister Hon. Tilman Thomas

Dr. Douglas who is also CARICOM’s lead spokesman on Health, HIV/AIDS and Human Resource Development was accompanied Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Baldwin Spencer; St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Hon. Stephenson King; Grenada’s Prime Minister, Hon. Tillman Thomas; Chief Minister of Montserrat, the hon. Reuben Meade, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Dr. the Hon. Douglas Slater and officials of the CARICOM Secretariat and the local Secretariat around the St. Kitts Golf Course.

Caribbean leaders were in St. Kitts for the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Prime Minister Douglas told that Caribbean leaders must practice what they preach.

He said the Community must continue fighting the epidemic of non-communicable diseases and this was one clear way of the leaders demonstrating that is to actually try to be fit.

Dr. Douglas says the state of health in the region continues to be very challenging and the reports of high incidence of hypertension and diabetes remains a major concern for many states.

“Too many of our people are obese,” Prime Minister Douglas said. “We are now seeing quite a bit of juvenile obesity. That is a great concern to us.”

Dr. Douglas said Heads are committed to ensuring that their individual countries establish special commissions to address the problem of chronic non-communicable diseases.

He used the occasion to single out the Community’s landmark achievements in the fight against Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDS), noting that “through the example of the Region and the lobbying of our ambassadors at the United Nations, CARICOM has led the way for the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in September.”

He explained that it was the Caribbean Commission on Health Development, chaired by Professor George Alleyne, which in 2006, raised an awareness of the devastating effects of heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, cancers and other lifestyle-related diseases on the economies of the region.

In response to this, CARICOM held the first ever Heads of Government Summit on NCDs in Americas; and that Summit, he stated, produced the Port-of-Spain Declaration – Uniting to Stop Chronic Non- Communicable Diseases – which is now being benchmarked as a model in the global fight against NCDs. Even more profound, he said, was the implementation of several policies to promote healthy lifestyles through physical activity, and reduce risk factors to NCDs.

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