Many persons do their best to protect their lives from harm and threat of death, especially with the rise in crime and violence. Ironically, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) 2014 reports show that only 11 per cent of deaths in Trinidad and Tobago are caused by injuries (to include violence and road accidents). Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDS) are responsible for most deaths in the country (80 per cent). However, are we equally doing enough to protect our lives from NCDs?
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDS)
NCDs are a group of chronic diseases that usually cannot spread between persons. They normally last long and progress slowly. Common examples are heart diseases, diabetes, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and mental disorders. NCDs are mostly lifestyle related and are preventable. Sadly, this would suggest that our lifestyle has a far greater chance of killing us than violence or injuries.
Risk Factors for NCDs
While we place great effort in protecting ourselves from injuries and violence, even more should be placed in improving our lifestyles and protecting our health. The main risk factors of NCDs are tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition/eating habits, social determinants (for example, where you live and resources you have available could impact your health) and physical inactivity. Let us discuss physical inactivity further.
Physical inactivity and living a sedentary lifestyle both simply mean we are not moving enough. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide. Globally 25 per cent of adults and 80 cent of adolescents are physically inactive.