Belize Ministry of Health Aims to Prevent Non-Communicable Diseases

Belize Ministry of Health Aims to Prevent Non-Communicable Diseases

And while the initiative might be looking at foods in schools one of the end goals of the project is to keep people out of hospital. Dr. Diaz-Musa explained that non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, are among the five leading causes of death for Belizeans. Diaz-Musa said that with rising occurrences in Belizeans fostering healthy habits in youths is one of the best preventative measures the ministry can roll out to address the issue. 

Dr. Melissa Diaz, Director of Public Health and Wellness: “One of the main reasons for us to have the healthy initiative project in schools is for us to start at a younger age and for us to have that cultural shift and that change in the way that we eat and the activities that we do. And that’s why we’ve termed it healthy habits because it’s not necessarily only the foods that we eat it’s our habits as well. Do we drink a lot of water? Do we give the kids a little chance to stand up in the classroom? Do we take physical education seriously? How can we do more in terms of exercising or even at the workplace getting up and walking around a little bit more. So it’s healthy habits that we’re trying to drive home that goal for us to ensure that we all take on these healthier habits in order to reduce NCDs. Definitely we do have increases in many of the NCDs like diabetes and hypertension, we’re monitoring cancer, of course mental health is also a noncommunicable disease. So these are areas that we’re really closely focusing on and working with other partners as well in order for us to do different initiatives, doing more outreach, going out into the public to ensure that we are able to reduce these numbers because definitely NCDs continue to be one of our main problems and issues in our country and continues to be one of the top three causes of that for our population.”

Cause of death data provided by the Statistical Institute of Belize shows that heart disease and cancers were the two leading causes of death in Belize in 2021. This was followed by COVID-19, diabetes, and then homicides.

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