Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is in full support of long term athletic development and physical literacy as part the Sport for Life programme.
The concept of Sports for Life is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity which links sport, education, recreation and health, as well as aligns community and national programming.
A symposium was held on February 29 to March 1 to introduce the concept to a wide audience which included members from the Ministries of Education and Culture, Health and Social Development, and leaders of sporting federations. The objectives of the programme are to develop physical literacy, create clear pathways to excellence for elite athlete development and to assist everyone to be active for life.
Coordinator of Health Promotions Services and National Focal Point for Non-communicable Diseases Prevention, Ms. Ivy George said the Ministry of Health fully endorses the programme especially the physical literacy component which is an excellent population-based programme that targets all ages.
Ms. George reported that the Caribbean is known to have one of the highest rates of non-communicable disease in the regions of the Americas. She said in 2009, a national risk factor survey in adults ages 25-64 revealed that 24% of males and 42% of females have low levels of physical activity. The findings also brought to light that 74% of the adult population are classified as being overweight and 35% classified as being obese.
Ms. George stated that the Government has developed a ten year strategy (2011 to 2021) entitled Towards a Healthier Virgin Islands to improve the health and wellbeing of the people across the lifecycle, and reduce the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and risk factors in the population.
She added that a part of Sport for Life’s mission is to improve health, wellness and sporting experiences for all by advancing physical literacy, and improving and increasing life-long participation in physical activity.
Ms. George said that she was pleased to be associated with the acclaimed internationally recognised programme and will be advocating for the use of this framework to advance the physical activity agenda across the life cycle in the Territory.
Sport for Life addresses the overarching system and structure of sport and physical activity, including the relationship between school sport, physical education, and organized sport at all levels, from policy to programme delivery.
The BVI is one of six Caribbean countries that were selected to participate in a two year pilot project. The programme is a collaborative effort of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canada Sport for Life Society and the BVI Olympic Committee.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development is committed to improving the health of the people of the Virgin Islands.