Saturday, October 1, 2011

Can The Recent UN World Health Summit Save 1000s of Lives in T&T?

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Health and Fitness should be more important to people in Trinidad and Tobago than in any other part of the world.  Why?

For the record, T&T is “#1 in the Western Hemisphere, per capita for diabetes”.  That was just one statistic cited by a medical researcher, Dr Kenwyn Nicholls, in a 2010 report: The Diabetes Epidemic in Trinidad and Tobago”.   Here are some other interesting statistics he offered:

o   Of the 1.3 million people, 143,000  (11%) have diabetes
o   1000 new cases diagnosed, just 20 year olds in 2007
o   Over 450 children in T&T have type 1 diabetes
o   T&T is 5th in the world in diabetes per capita
o   Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in T&T  

And there is more... Google the report or ask and it will be sent to you:

The United Nation has declared four non communicable lifestyle diseases that are responsible for 60 percent of deaths worldwide.  Globally, that’s an unintelligible millions of dead, locally in a population of 1.3 million that just a little over 600 thousand people will die from these diseases or complications thereof.   

The Non-Communicable Diseases

The primary non communicable diseases identified by the UN are; diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension or high blood pressure and cancer.  Each is in a category by itself but all can cause long term debilitating suffering that is most times incurable and comes with its own host of complications.   

These lifestyle diseases have nothing to do with infections, viruses or bacteria and everything to do with how we live or lives.  As the researcher noted, the incidences are higher in the lowest class in the society (poor people) but these diseases do not discriminate.  They are eradicating a significant cross section of the population from all classes.. 

This month, September 2011, the United Nations hosted the World Health Summit and invited the heads of each country.   We are still not fully aware of the results of this top level Heads of State meeting but we trust that PM Kamla will let us know how her government intends to reverse the trend.  

What Can You Do?

The real question though is:  what can you do as an individual?   You cannot wait for the Trinidad and Tobago government to tell you what to do.  What can you do now, right this minute. Continue reading. 

The first thing you can do is understand what fitness is all about.  In fact, we should go a little deeper and find out what is meant by peak fitness.  This is the very first step in taking action.  Know the action you can take and the potential results.  Understanding where you want to go is the first step in getting there.

What Does Being Fit Mean?
First let’s understand peak fitness.  Peak fitness exists when an individual body’s resistance level and stamina for specific physical activities are at its optimum.  It’s a point where one has the physical ability and faculties in sync for maximized performance.  In other words, it’s the ability to achieve the fullest and the optimum potential of the body’s strength and stamina in a specific activity. 

And, contrary to what most people may think; anyone can achieve peak fitness consistent with their age and health.  Also, an individual can be fit and still not be at peak fitness.  The goal for you, if you are not an athlete, should be to attain fitness.  

Achieving fitness has nothing to do with working on cut and form of your body or having the energy and muscles to do hard, manual, physical labor.  It has to do more with practicing good healthy habits. It has more to do with your lifestyle, your diet and the habits you adopt. It has to do with sustaining  the body with energy and perform within your environment.   


As you know, the body’s energy comes from food and therein lays Trinbagonians greatest challenge.  The worst of the diseases mentioned above, diabetes, cardiovascular and cancer manifest themselves directly from the food we consume.   The sugar cake, toolum, sweeties, saltfish, sweet drinks and white bread are not healthy foods. 

We all know that the body must maintain a balanced quantity of calories to function properly.   Traditionally our foods have been calorie rich.  Calories generate energy so you want to be careful when you cut down on calorie-rich foods just because you’re trying to cut back on your calorie and lose weight.  Calories are essential to fitness; some very basic tasks depend on the amount of calories you have consumed.  

Also,  fibers are equally important for good digestion and bowel movement. Fiber-rich food like wheat bread, unpolished rice, vegetables and fruits satisfies the hunger and your fiber intake.  You must have heard it said that maintaining a daily vegetable and fruit diet provides you with the necessary vitamins and minerals to beef up your stamina and resistance to disease, ultimately leading to your body’s fitness.  That’s good advice. 


Being fit also requires that you live an active lifestyle;, exercise and physical activity are essential.  When you keep your body used to physical activity and an active lifestyle it naturally develops the muscles and strengthens capacity to meet your personal needs.  If your job requires that you sit there is a lot more reason to have a regular exercise regimen.  It is so easy to develop flab in your middle; and become  prone to injuries and illness. 

Ten minutes of routine exercise everyday – from something as simple as taking the stairs to stretching and working on the treadmill can help your body maintain its fitness level. Of course, remember not to abuse your body. Have moments for lazing around and relaxing those muscles of yours. Too much and too little of anything is bad. 


Give yourself enough sleep. Sleep is important as it allows your body to rejuvenate, the tissues to heal, the brain and other organs to slow down in their function. A good night’s sleep spells more energy the next day, a more enthusiastic, active YOU. Enough sleep allows you and your body to function optimally, to your fullest potential. It is the body’s means to recharge itself. 

The easiest way to check your fitness level is your body’s ability to respond to stress. More so, peak fitness is your body’s ability to respond to emergencies. A well-oiled machine should be able to function without the ‘clicks’ and the ‘thuds’. Our body should be able to do its work in much the same way. 

Set a Fitness Goal a Vision 

The idea is fitness, ultimately peak fitness but to minimize your chances of falling into that 60 percent of the population that suffer from these non communicable diseases it is worth considering.  People in Trinidad and Tobago should look to break another record, a complete turnaround from the ones we have now.  Get on the fitness train my friends there is a 60 percent chance you could become a statistic.  

So what’s the next step?  With what you already know about keeping fit and what you have just read you may already have a vision for yourself.   If the vision is still unclear it means you need more knowledge.  You should not even think about starting an exercise programme without creating a big WHY for yourself. Why do you want to be fit?  There is no better reason than your continued good health. 

Get More Information
If you want more free information on fitness, get a five part email eCourse on what you should do to begin.  Plus, you are automatically eligible to download a free eBook; The Guide to Staying Healthy.  

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