The government of Barbados assumed office with a promise to boldly tackle the demand for housing by Barbadians. On the political platforms the figure 17, 000 applicants who were awaiting housing solutions was bandied around. To the governments credit if we go by media reports the incumbent Minister of Housing Michael Lashley has been a busy man. Several housing developments have have been built and land lots made available for sale to Barbadians. Despite our satisfaction at the housing solutions made available we have to register our concern about the several housing developments which remain locked-down. In some cases the grass and bush has reached the window sills of the completed development. An example can be seen at the development in Greens, St. George.
Why are the houses in Greens closed for so long when there is a pent-up demand for houses in Barbados?
Donville Inniss is another minister reported to be manfully accepting the challenges within the health ministry. If we are to judge by his several appearances in the media since assuming office, it can be easily said he is close to rivalling Minister Byer-Suckoo by being Hither, Dither and Yon. We understand the minister is set to announce shortly whether Barbados will be constructing a new hospital or remodelling the aged Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges confronting Minister Inniss is the alarming rise of non-communicable diseases (CNCDs). Our current health strategy reminds BU of the maxim, prevention is better than cure. We are possibly about to build a state of the art hospital geared among other things to respond to a rising demand.
Would it make more sense for Barbados to articulate a strategic policy to encourage a more healthy lifestyle by our people?
Recent new research in the USA has suggested simply by living in a neighborhood that provides easy opportunities for exercise and healthy eating and fresh fruits and vegetables close by, may cut a person’s chance of developing type 2 diabetes. We wonder if the hardworking Ministers, Lashley and Inniss would do better to collaborate based on what the new research has concluded. Let us build housing developments in the future which support a healthy lifestyle. By doing so millions of dollars can be saved, more importantly, Barbadians will enjoy healthier living.
Read a report about the new research.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – People who live in neighborhoods with safe sidewalks, ample parks, good public transportation and ready access to fresh fruits and vegetables are 38 percent less likely to develop diabetes than others, U.S. researchers said on Monday.
They said unlike a lot of other factors that influence diabetes, creating a healthy neighborhood is one thing policymakers can do to address the epidemic of diabetes, which costs the United States more than $116 billion in medical expenses each year.
An estimated 23.6 million people in the United States and 246 million people globally have diabetes. Most have type 2, the kind linked with a poor diet and lack of exercise.
“Altering our environments so that healthier behaviors and lifestyles can be easily chosen may be one of the key steps in arresting and reversing these epidemics,” Amy Auchincloss of Drexel University in Philadelphia, whose study appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine, said in a statement.
Auchincloss studied 2,285 adults age 45 to 84 from three different communities: Baltimore, Maryland; the Bronx neighborhood of New York and Forsyth County, North Carolina, who were initially examined between 2000 and 2002. They took blood sugar levels before the study and at three follow-up exams, and gathered information on physical activity, weight and diet.
They also measured neighborhood resources through a community survey that asked about whether it was easy to get healthy foods, or if it was pleasant or easy to walk in their neighborhood.
They defined neighborhoods as the area within a 20-minute walk or a mile from their homes.
In communities that offered more healthy resources — ranked by a combined score for opportunities for physical activity and healthy foods, people were 38 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes in five years than people who lived in less-healthy neighborhoods.
Several studies have found that lack of access to healthy foods in poor neighborhoods contributes to obesity. And a study last year published in the American Journal of Public Health, found that youth whose schools are located near a fast food outlet eat fewer fruits and vegetables, drink more soda and are more likely to be obese than students at other schools.
Although it is difficult to force an individual to make changes that alter their diabetes risk, it may be possible to lower the incidence of diabetes in a community by making neighborhood improvements, Dr. Mitchell Katz of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said in a commentary.
“If we are to decrease the rates of type 2 diabetes, we need to change the environment in ways that make it easy for people to exercise and eat right as part of their daily routine,” Katz wrote.
(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)