World Health Day
World Health Day is celebrated annually on April 7th under the sponsorship of the World Health Organisation. Its aim is highlighting global health issues through awareness programs that educate the populace and foster discussions about the problems. Each year has a different pervading theme promoting a certain topic. This year, 2018, the theme is Universal Health Coverage. Around half of the world’s population does not have access to basic health services. The WHO is determined to increase coverage to one billion (1,000,000,000) more people worldwide by 2023.
Health Care in Trinidad and Tobago
Ostensibly, we do have national coverage in Trinidad and Tobago. There are five Regional Health Authorities that each cater to a certain catchment area which would include the entire segment of the population that resides in the area. They each administer the hospitals and health centres within the districts of their respective regions.
Quality of treatment, wait time, obtaining medication, and lack of hospital beds are all problems we face here. However, compared to other areas of the world we might still be better off in some ways. But, as a nation, we still have a long way to go in terms of lifestyle choices that affect our health.
Staying Healthy in T&T
So, in honour of World Health Day, here are three things to consider for a healthier lifestyle in Trinidad and Tobago.
Your Daily Surroundings: Home, Office, etc.
We spend so much time working, running errands, relaxing, and just living life that we neglect to think of the space around us. It goes without saying that keeping your home, office, and car clean would be healthier than just leaving clutter all around.
But you probably think it means cleaning only in the sense of removing junk and sanitising surfaces. While that helps, consider the direct effects of your interactions with everything in your physical surroundings.
Do you sit for most of the day? Sitting “badly” can affect your posture and cause chronic pains about the body. Invest in ergonomic furniture for your home or office to relieve some of the stresses being in an uncomfortable environment can cause.
Think of the paint in your home or office, does it enhance the quality of your environment beyond being visually appealing? No? Research high quality paints that actually positively impact the space you occupy for most of your day.
Just think of how you can minimise unhealthy stimulants in the places you frequent most often.
Our (Delicious) Unhealthy Local Delicacies
You wake up and get dressed. On your way to work, you stop by the doubles person and get two doubles with everything for breakfast. Or, you stop by the food place and get two bake with saltfish, or fried aloo with sada roti. And that’s great. But, how often do you do that?
Now, the fact that these foods and most of our other local dishes (pelau, curry, etc.) are not exactly light, healthy meals is not a secret. We know that it’s not good for us but we are accustomed to a certain lifestyle. This is not a bad thing. Indulge in the foods you like.
But, don’t indulge too often. One doubles for breakfast on one morning every month probably won’t kill you. One plate of pelau for Sunday lunch every month is just fine. As the saying goes, everything in moderation.
Supplement your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables and try to make healthier choices in general. Not only could you potentially avoid certain diseases and illnesses with a proper diet, you could also live longer.
The Carnival Movers
We all have that friend. The one who, from March to December, eats whatever they want, barely flexes a muscle beyond just needing to get from point A to point B, and overall just isn’t concerned with their appearance in the least.
And then the Christmas season ends, and suddenly you have a whole new friend. One who nags you to go to the gym with them, chastises you for daring to even mention that such a thing as cake even exists, and generally turns into a missile aimed at one target: Carnival.
That “friend” could be you too. And, once again, you do you.
But, applying yourself for two months out of the year isn’t sustainable as a lifestyle choice. It probably works and you have yet to notice any real consequences. However, your body needs consistent physical activity (as in regular exercise) for the health effects to be noticeable.
Just think, if you make physical activity an all-year routine, then come Carnival time, you won’t have to work as hard. Join a facility that has a range of activities you can participate in, so you don’t get bored with your workouts.
There you have it. Life in Trinidad doesn’t have to be unhealthy with all these options available to us. Keep enjoying your life, but still be mindful of how you can keep being alive for as long as possible. Happy World Health Day!