Health minister says activity third pillar for disease control


10-April-2012

Health Minister Mitcy Larue said this in her message to mark World Physical Activity Day on April 6.

The day was marked under the theme: Together for an active and happy life.
The rest of Mrs Larue’s message reads:

“The impact of NCDs such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer goes well beyond the huge amount of lives lost and the daily suffering of large number of people. Non-communicable diseases are indeed a major obstacle to economic growth and social development.

“Modern life holds a promise of a better life for all people. However, some aspects of modern life, if left loose, can be a main force driving the emergence of non-communicable diseases.

Many people have reduced their physical activity to a bare minimum and some near zero, when they entirely rely on motorised transportation or when they entirely devote their spare leisure time to watching TV and videos, playing computer games or surfing the internet.

Similarly, food choices have never been so vast with plenty of opportunities to eat more healthily as never before, Unfortunately in parallel, opportunities to fill our plates with unhealthy energy dense foods such as fatty foods, salty snacks and sweets have become a day-to-day temptation. As a result overweight has taken an epidemic proportion, including among children.

“However, modern life also brings more opportunities than ever to adopt healthy lifestyles. We have evolved to have more time for leisure activities, there are more facilities and opportunities to practice sports and equipment is more accessible and affordable than ever before. More opportunities to adopt healthy lifestyles are available to all of us, adults, children and elderly altogether.

Hence, non communicable diseases can be largely prevented if we can become aware of how to go about it and make the right choices. We can have physical exercise for at least 30 minutes every day, not necessarily in one single session but by adding many small bouts of active movements during our daily lives.

“We can choose to avoid excessive large portions and decide to have more of the foods that benefit our health, such as fruits and vegetables, and drink water, be it tap water, instead of sugary drinks or alcohol. We can also refrain from smoking.

“I therefore call on all Seychellois to integrate healthy changes in their day-to-day activities, lifestyles and food choices. This can include, for example, getting off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way; walking two minutes to join someone we want to speak with instead of using the phone; and reducing the size of the portion of some of our meals, drinking water instead of a soft drink and substituting a fruit for a fatty snack.

Even small steps toward improved healthy lifestyles, when repeated day after day over years, can bring large health benefits to individuals and will largely reduce the occurrence of non communicable diseases in the population.

“Together let us strive to be more active and make healthy choices for a healthier Seychellois population.”

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