The Health Directorate is developing new community initiatives and services to help prevent diabetes and heart disease on St Helena.

At present, the Saint community experiences a burden of high levels of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and various cancers (even compared with many other countries that share these problems). Early onsets of illness, disability, and deaths from these causes have become a too common experience in the community.

The Health Directorate is therefore encouraging people on St Helena to help them develop these new initiatives by completing a quick online survey, found here:!/0. The questions are on activity, diet, and smoking, and the survey is completely confidential and anonymous.

Alongside smoking, having an unhealthy diet and being overweight are two of the leading risk-factors for the abovementioned conditions, but they are ‘modifiable.’ That is, if people in the community can make certain lifestyle changes then they can significantly reduce their risk of these conditions. Also, people who already have these conditions can experience less illness and disability and improve their life expectancy and quality of life.

Many people in the community are already broadly aware of the issues and have some knowledge of the steps they and their family can take to stay healthy. Yet, while this can be enhanced by encouragement/support to start making some small lifestyle changes, these things alone will not enable people to make a shift.

In 2018/19, under a new strategy on Health Promotion, the Health Directorate will be working with various parts of the community and different organisations to develop ways to make it easier for Saints to make the kind of lifestyle choices that will keep them and their families healthier. The information received from the survey will go a long way in helping the Directorate understand how best to do this.

The closing date for completion of the survey is on Friday, 30 March.

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27 March 2018

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470