Editorial for 26 June: Health survey needs input

Healthy Nation 2012 is fast becoming unhealthy.

Some people are refusing to take the survey because they are
afraid of how their answers are going to be used.

Now the Ministry of Health is urging those who have refused
to take part in the survey to change their minds, promising that any
information collected will be kept confidential.

It’s unfortunate that in this day and time that people are
still afraid of giving any kind of information out, especially information
about their health.

The remit of the survey is to help identify the risk factors
that lead to chronic non-communicable diseases in the Cayman Islands. The
gathered information will be used to influence future health policies and

Such surveys are routinely done in other countries and, in
fact, this survey uses World Health Organisation methodology so the results can
be used to compare with other countries around the world and in the region.

Those taking the survey are being asked about their dietary
habits, tobacco use, alcohol consumption and physical activity and enumerators
are taking weight, height and waste circumference measurements and blood
pressure. A third step involves half of the 2,100 participants to take blood
sugar and cholesterol checks at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

Getting the results to this survey are vitally important to
the Cayman Islands because the numbers are staggering.

More than one in five of children in the Cayman Islands
between 11 and 14 years old are overweight; another 15 per cent are at risk of
becoming overweight.

By 2020, it is estimated that non-communicable diseases such
as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart conditions will account for 60 per
cent of the global disease burden.

And two out of every three deaths of people younger than 70
occur because of chronic disease.

Those who refuse to take part in Healthy Nation 2012 are
doing themselves and future generations of Caymanians a disservice.