BVIOC pledges $30,000 for health and fitness campaign in Virgin Islands

Government of the Virgin Islands with support from BVI Olympic Committee launch long-term health & fitness campaign for the territory. Photo: GIS

Government of the Virgin Islands with support from BVI Olympic Committee launch long-term health & fitness campaign for the territory. Photo: GIS

The BVI Olympic Committee has pledged a $30,000 donation over a three year period for the Walk/Run for Health campaign. The funds, sourced through the Olympic Solidarity programme, will support the three-year campaign launched by the BVI Health and Wellness Council on September 8 as an urgent call for residents of the Virgin Islands to increase their physical activity.

The campaign which also introduces the 10,000 steps programme, aims to reduce vulnerability of individuals to non-communicable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and some cancers through increased physical activity.

The implementation of the programme is a collaborative effort between the Ministry for Health and Social Development, the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the BVI Olympic Committee.

BVIOC Secretary General, Mr. Lloyd Black said he hopes to see an increase in the physical activity of the people of the Virgin Islands.

Mr. Black pointed out that the Olympic Solidarity Commission has been funding programmes for many years educating people about the Olympic movement, assisting athletes and providing support to healthy activities.

”When we learned about this programme and the challenges we were having in the BVI community, we made an assessment and determined that physical activity and living a healthy lifestyle fits within the Sports for All programme within the Olympic solidarity and hence our donation. Hopefully through this Walk/Run for Life programme, individuals can lose weight and live healthier, longer lives.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Technical Working Group, Honourable Archibald Christian, gave an overview of the 2009 STEP survey data on physical inactivity and spoke of the economic repercussion of the lack of exercise.

“As we continue to grapple with high healthcare costs we ask persons to be more conscious about what they eat and the physical activities they are involved in,” Honourable Christian stated. He cautioned persons that if they ignore the plea, one day their health will become an expensive part of living.

“If you can reduce your vulnerability of developing diseases by eating healthier and being involved in more physical activities then the cost of staying alive will be reduced and the overall cost of health care will decreased,” he explained.

Chairman of the Physical Activity Subcommittee, Mr. Paul Hewlett spoke about the innovative and exciting use of social media to inspire the masses.

“We want to ensure that the persons involved in social media live for a long time and follow us for a long time,” he said, adding, “We also want individuals to understand it is about the people. We want them to live healthier lives so they can see their grandchildren get married and live a more independent life as they age.”

Mr. Hewlett further added that these are all issues which are at hand and which will affect us all on a daily basis if we do not start placing emphasis on being healthy.

The Ministry of Health encourages everyone to become a part of the community and workplace walking clubs, or 10,000 steps club of the walk/run programme in striving toward a healthier Virgin Islands.

The Ministry has also implemented a 10-year strategy to improve the health and well being of the population and reduce the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases.