For Release Upon Receipt - May 31, 2012
The University of The West Indies in collaboration with the Ministry of Health is undertaking a nation-wide study aimed at assessing and more accurately addressing the worrying levels of non-communicable diseases in the country.
Dubbed “The Health of a Nation: Taking the Pulse of Barbados”, the study will use state-of-the-art methods to provide the most accurate picture yet of why Barbados has such high levels of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
Some 2000 people aged 25 years and over are expected to participate in the study which will examine issues ranging from individual salt consumption to personal activity.
· A high intake of salt is known to contribute to high blood pressure, and this study will provide the first proper measure of how much salt Barbadians take in each day.
· Physical inactivity is known to contribute to the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Using heart rate monitors and motion sensors this study will provide the first accurate measure of how active Barbadians actually are.
· High levels of cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. This study will provide the first ever measure of how many Barbadians have high cholesterol.
· It is well know from studies elsewhere that many people with diabetes, as many as half, are undiagnosed. This study will provide the first measure of how many Barbadians have undiagnosed diabetes.
Other novel aspects of the study include the first ever assessment of how common renal (kidney) disease is; and how much chronic non communicable diseases cost individuals, their families and the health care system.
Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, said: “The Ministry is supporting this study in order to strengthen our efforts in the prevention and treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases.”
Chairman of the National Commission for Chronic Non Communicable, Professor Trevor Hassell, added that, “accurately knowing which segments of the population are most affected will enable us to target and monitor the effect of our preventive efforts.”
It is vital to the success of the study that participants are representative of the adult population of Barbados. Hence, researchers are working closely with the Barbados Statistical Service to ensure that this is the case.
Also vital to ensuring that the study is representative of the Barbados population is that all those who are invited to participate agree to do so. Professor Anselm Hennis, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre (CDRC), explained: 'We can only build an accurate picture of chronic diseases and what needs to be done for prevention if we see all those who are invited to participate. Even if people feel that they have little to gain personally from taking part, they will be contributing to knowledge that in the long run will benefit all Barbadians.”
The study is being conducted by the CDRC and the Ministry of Health. It is being led by Ms Angie Rose and Professor Nigel Unwin. For further details please contact the study's project manager, Ms Christina Howitt, CDRC (426-6416).
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