Categorized | Features, Health

Living Healthy for Festival 50

By Cathy Buffonge

Cathy Buffonge

As Montserrat prepares to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its annual year-end Festival in December, there is an initiative to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles in the weeks leading up to the Festival. This voluntary initiative is spearheaded by electronic technician and former Festival committee chairman Gregory Willock, and Albrun Semper, both of Punch and Get out Productions, together with a team of volunteers, in a move towards a healthier population.

For the past weeks community members have been invited to join the challenge, with its slogan Fifty strong: Living Healthy for Festival 50 and beyond. The programme involves several competing teams of highly motivated persons both male and female, although predominately female in spite of encouragement for men to join. Among the men is Minister of Agriculture the Hon Easton Taylor Farrell, setting an example for the community. The programme has exceeded its goal of having 50 persons involved, and is planned to cover 50 days, ending on December 26.

Fully behind the project is US based cardiologist/ researcher Dr Janice Scobie, together with events coordinator Gilda Hansen, who were both on island for the launch of the programme. Both work closely with US based Montserratian cardiologist Dr Icilma Fergus Rowe, who has visited Montserrat from time to time with her team to provide specialist services and monitor the cardiac health of the population.

While here, Dr Scobie and Ms Hansen conducted pre-programme health checks on all participants, including weight and height, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, giving the participants something to aim for when they are finished. They also brought with them pedometers, blood pressure monitors, T-shirts and activity folders for each participant, as well as other items for the programme.

The very attractive folders, entitled ‘Social health leads to social wealth’, contain sections on healthy lifestyle, exercise instructions including warming up and cooling down, guidelines for physical activity from the American Heart Association, daily food diary forms, and guidelines on what each group must do on each day of the week.

Each group is expected to complete a wide variety of activities on particular days, Including walking, aerobics, football, basketball and swimming. Each activity has a coach, who guides the various groups in what they are doing. The coaches include Andre West for aerobics, Vachel Murraine for basketball, Kenny Dyer for football, James ‘Fittest Man’ Greenaway for walking,  and Stanford Kelly for swimming.

In addition the participants keep a daily record of everything they eat at each meal and in between. Gregory points out that they are not told what to eat, but keeping a daily record will help them to become aware of what they are actually eating and will motivate them to make some adjustments, especially as they monitor their weight, blood pressure and exercise levels.

On Sundays the entire group meets for a group discussion, with each group making a five minute presentation on some aspect of health as related to physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

Scobie and Hansen will keep in touch with local organizer Gregory Willock to provide support and assist with any problems. They explain that a group in the US is following the same routine as those who have joined locally. In addition the Montserrat Progressive Society of New York, which has been active for many years, is taking a keen interest in the project and is assisting with fund raising and the provision of items needed for the project.

A few years ago the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge was spearheaded by the Nutrition and Health Promotion sections of the Ministry of Health for two years running, with groups and individuals involved in healthy eating and exercise targets, also a very praiseworthy effort. This time it’s the non-health and voluntary sector which has taken the initiative, and this fulfils one of the goals of health promotion in having community members take responsibility for health.

With chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension on the rise, this programme is just the right approach to help prevent and control these conditions by encouraging participants and the whole population to keep fit and healthy, especially as Festival brings with it over-eating and over-drinking on the part of many. It’s especially praiseworthy coming from the voluntary sector of the community, and a noteworthy effort to supplement the ongoing work being done by health staff.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

By Cathy Buffonge

Cathy Buffonge

As Montserrat prepares to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of its annual year-end Festival in December, there is an initiative to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles in the weeks leading up to the Festival. This voluntary initiative is spearheaded by electronic technician and former Festival committee chairman Gregory Willock, and Albrun Semper, both of Punch and Get out Productions, together with a team of volunteers, in a move towards a healthier population.

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For the past weeks community members have been invited to join the challenge, with its slogan Fifty strong: Living Healthy for Festival 50 and beyond. The programme involves several competing teams of highly motivated persons both male and female, although predominately female in spite of encouragement for men to join. Among the men is Minister of Agriculture the Hon Easton Taylor Farrell, setting an example for the community. The programme has exceeded its goal of having 50 persons involved, and is planned to cover 50 days, ending on December 26.

Fully behind the project is US based cardiologist/ researcher Dr Janice Scobie, together with events coordinator Gilda Hansen, who were both on island for the launch of the programme. Both work closely with US based Montserratian cardiologist Dr Icilma Fergus Rowe, who has visited Montserrat from time to time with her team to provide specialist services and monitor the cardiac health of the population.

While here, Dr Scobie and Ms Hansen conducted pre-programme health checks on all participants, including weight and height, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, giving the participants something to aim for when they are finished. They also brought with them pedometers, blood pressure monitors, T-shirts and activity folders for each participant, as well as other items for the programme.

The very attractive folders, entitled ‘Social health leads to social wealth’, contain sections on healthy lifestyle, exercise instructions including warming up and cooling down, guidelines for physical activity from the American Heart Association, daily food diary forms, and guidelines on what each group must do on each day of the week.

Each group is expected to complete a wide variety of activities on particular days, Including walking, aerobics, football, basketball and swimming. Each activity has a coach, who guides the various groups in what they are doing. The coaches include Andre West for aerobics, Vachel Murraine for basketball, Kenny Dyer for football, James ‘Fittest Man’ Greenaway for walking,  and Stanford Kelly for swimming.

In addition the participants keep a daily record of everything they eat at each meal and in between. Gregory points out that they are not told what to eat, but keeping a daily record will help them to become aware of what they are actually eating and will motivate them to make some adjustments, especially as they monitor their weight, blood pressure and exercise levels.

On Sundays the entire group meets for a group discussion, with each group making a five minute presentation on some aspect of health as related to physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.

Scobie and Hansen will keep in touch with local organizer Gregory Willock to provide support and assist with any problems. They explain that a group in the US is following the same routine as those who have joined locally. In addition the Montserrat Progressive Society of New York, which has been active for many years, is taking a keen interest in the project and is assisting with fund raising and the provision of items needed for the project.

A few years ago the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge was spearheaded by the Nutrition and Health Promotion sections of the Ministry of Health for two years running, with groups and individuals involved in healthy eating and exercise targets, also a very praiseworthy effort. This time it’s the non-health and voluntary sector which has taken the initiative, and this fulfils one of the goals of health promotion in having community members take responsibility for health.

With chronic non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension on the rise, this programme is just the right approach to help prevent and control these conditions by encouraging participants and the whole population to keep fit and healthy, especially as Festival brings with it over-eating and over-drinking on the part of many. It’s especially praiseworthy coming from the voluntary sector of the community, and a noteworthy effort to supplement the ongoing work being done by health staff.