Not unlike the major systems of the human body (circulatory, nervous, digestive, etc.), our individual health and well-being is influenced by several interdependent “systems.” And speaking more broadly, so is the healthcare profile of the Cayman Islands.
Preventative, therapeutic and pharmaceutical care work in tandem with lifestyle and dietary decisions to keep our bodies healthy and our minds sharp, so that we can get the most out of life.
Accordingly, it is noteworthy when healthcare professionals from diverse disciplines, including nutritionists, physicians, psychologists, physical therapists and others, gather to share information about advancements in their areas of expertise. This past weekend, The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, hosted just such a “meeting of the minds,” the eighth annual Cayman Islands Healthcare Conference, which was also attended by government officials, employers and health-conscious consumers.
This year’s theme, “Food for Thought: Exploring the relationship between nutrition and health,” offered attendees insights, both scientific and practical, about the relationship between health and nutrition.
Much of our well-being can be traced to a multitude of small daily behaviors, that – in their simplest form – boil down to Mom’s general prescription: Eat your vegetables. Drink your milk. Run outside and play.
Mom’s wisdom acknowledged, the relationship between good nutrition and an individual’s good health is, of course, complex and scientific.
Speakers at last weekend’s conference delved deep into the research, including healthy eating for different life stages; links between diet, obesity and cancer; how nutrition can affect mood, behavior and cognition; and myths and facts about food.
For many reasons, Cayman is an ideal location for discussion of health, healthcare and the healthcare business – which could be said to be “everybody’s business.”
Tourists flock to our beautiful islands to participate in athletic leisure activities – including scuba, sailing and other water sports. Visitors and residents, alike, put a premium on health and fitness – cycling, yoga, sports, etc.
Local farmers are paying renewed attention to growing highly nutritious produce, and local consumers are eager to buy.
First-world health facilities offer first-class services to residents, and, increasingly, visitors. Health City Cayman Islands and other practitioners are pioneering cutting-edge medical techniques. As we reported recently, a new wellness-themed hotel is planned for the George Town area.
These developments not only bode well for healthy bodies, but also for a healthy economy. Worldwide, wellness is a $3.72 trillion industry and continues to grow, according to the nonprofit Global Wellness Institute.
There are, of course, challenges. Rates of obesity and chronic disease – especially among Caymanians – are cause for concern. Even more so is the above-average rate of obesity among local youth.
Improving and maintaining our health is a long-term, never-ending process. Think of it as a journey, not a destination, that encompasses our minds, our bodies and our spirits.
Altering deeply entrenched and indulgent habits, such as over-eating and over-imbibing, requires both diligence and self-discipline.
Anyone feeling guilty or remorseful about their past lifestyle choices might be encouraged by the words of Richard Bach, author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.” Said Mr. Bach: “Here is a test to find out whether your mission on Earth is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”
For many of us, it may be time to take a first step on a new and healthier path …