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Health minister calls on workplaces to establish wellness programmes

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, says workplaces should establish wellness programmes to minimise downtime and to increase productivity.

Tufton, who was delivering the keynote address at the 2018 Caribbean Wellness Day Symposium, held at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Friday, said it should be a part of the duties of human resource (HR) managers to lead and encourage physical activities among the workforce.

“Creative HR managers can decide that they are going to provide some options, such as once a year you do a hike up to the Blue Mountains,” he said, adding that this allows for work teams to get together and promotes good relationships at the workplace.

The minister emphasised that in doing physical activities, workers will maintain good health and develop a good habit.

Tufton said that with most of the preventable illnesses causing persons to be away from work, a deliberate approach should be taken for wellness to be on top of the list of priorities at workplaces.

He told the audience that the ministry will assist entities to develop their wellness programmes, and encouraged them to begin small with exercise competitions.

The minister also used the occasion to launch the Workplace Nutrition Challenge, to run from October 2018 to June 2019, under the theme 'Jamaica Moves Towards Healthy Eating', which will incentivise workplaces through the adoption of healthier food options.

Caribbean Wellness Day was inaugurated in 2008 as an event to increase awareness about non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the region, and to mobilise and strengthen public, private, and civil society partnerships to combat the illnesses.

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