HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh urged members of the public to take small steps now to get their health in order so as to avoid bad consequences down the line, as he launched the TT Moves project at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mount Hope on Sunday.
Walk more, drink enough water and eliminate unhealthy foodstuffs in favour of fruits and vegetables, was his sincere call.
He warned against fast-foods, soft drinks, processed foods, sugar, fats and oils.
Recalling a survey of 576 men which had found 461 men (or 80 per cent) needed further investigation, he warned their conditions pointed to “a stroke waiting to happen.”
Deyalsingh said TT’s $6 billion annual cost of healthcare was unsustainable.
“Five stroke victims a day coming in for treatment is unsustainable.
“The hardest part is getting patients to adopt healthier lifestyles. Too many feel the solution is in a prescription. The solution is in a lifestyle change.
“What this country needs is less healthcare and more health. That’s the culture change.”
He lamented that his ministry has to borrow US$48 million from the IDB in order to tell people to eat healthier, to move more and to drink more water.
“If you don’t, your future is an amputated leg or speech therapy after a stroke.
“You lose your job and have your children provide you 24 hours healthcare because you are in bed.”
Deyalsingh urged people to take everything in moderation, rather dieting. He urged people to download an pedometer app to ensure they pace enough daily.
Also addressing the event were North Central RHA CEO Davlin Thomas, Inter American Development Bank (IDB) country head Carina Cockburn and Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Nigel de Freitas, while Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram was present. UWI professor Paul Teelucksingh revealed that 50 per cent of children were now overweight (compared to 10 per cent some 20 years ago, and 33 per cent some ten years ago.) He said tests on a sample of men had found 70 per cent to be overweight, 60 per cent with high blood pressure and 50 per cent with excessive fats in their blood. Saying healthcare specialists in hospitals cannot stop such numbers, Teelucksingh urged each person to walk 7,000 steps per day as “a way to keep the doctor away”, saying this remedy was cheap, effective and without any side-effects. Nisha Bissambhar was the emcee at the event in which attendees exercised to tunes from artistes Ravi B, Swappi and Farmer Nappy.