Better Health St Helena 2024

Earlier in 2023 the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment revealed some concerning health data for people living on St Helena. On the Island, one in two adults are struggling to control blood pressure and it is likely that 25% of the population have type 2 diabetes.

Data collected by Dr Derek Burke showed that around 1200 people are living with chronic kidney disease. It is known that weight loss, following a healthy balance diet, increasing physical activity, stopping smoking and better mental health will help reduce your chances of dying from a preventable death, and help promote a longer active healthier life.

The Better Health Initiative will be launching in January 2024, building on the strength of this Island’s community spirit and family support networks. This initiative will run weekly as a support group to help people adopt new, healthier habits. It will also signpost people to websites that will help them make healthy lifestyle changes, in line with the government’s ambition for a happier, healthier, greener St Helena.

On Friday 8 December, championed by St Helena Airport, key business owners joined together to hear why encouraging employees to engage with the Better Health Team will be good for their workforces and businesses. They heard how many staff may need to take extra days off for medical reasons due to poor health, minor illness or for joint and muscle pain, impacting their business through a lack of staffing. More broadly, the topic of the economy was reflected on and the impact that personal health issues can have on the whole Island. Early retirement due to poor health, or a smaller recruitment pool on-Island because people are leaving work to take care of family members because of ill health, means less taxes to fund critical public services and less money being spent in businesses. 

Dietitian Sarah Mattinson, explained:

“You don’t have to be working for a company to come to one of the Better Health sessions, Better Health is available to everyone. Sessions will run for people to have a check in with your personal goals and review progress every Wednesday in Longwood and Half Tree Hollow, or Saturday if you are Airport staff.”

In the past people have always used weight as a measure of health, but Better Health is looking at the bigger picture! Your personal goal might be to lose weight or it could be to reduce your blood sugar, eat one more portion of fruit and vegetable a day, drink two litres of water or no added sugar per day or spend less time sitting during the day.

Physiotherapist, Lee Burrows, has ideas that will help you start moving whatever your fitness level. Lee said:

“I have worked with some really determined Saints, who started walking the 500 metre track around Francis Plain once and can now do multiple laps.”

Look and listen out for more information over the festive period. If you want to make a change in the New Year, the Better Health team will help you set your goal and support you achieving it. Get ready for a healthier, happier and greener 2024. For more information please contact: sarah.mattinson@sainthelena.gov.sh.

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SHG

19 December 2023

St Helena Government Communications Hub

Telephone: 22470
Email: kimberley.peters@sainthelena.gov.sh