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82 Percent Of Deaths In Saint Lucia Attributed To NCDs

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Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes are the leading cause of illness and death globally.

In Saint Lucia, the Epidemiology unit reports that 82% of deaths are attributed to these diseases.

NCDs are largely caused by common risk behaviours such as tobacco use, physical inactivity, unhealthy diets and the harmful use of alcohol.

On Wednesday February 14th, 2024, officials from the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs held a stakeholder consultation to officially release the results of the 2019/2020 Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) STEPwise Approach to Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance survey, otherwise known as STEPS.

The STEPS survey consists of a simple, standardized method for data collection, analysis and dissemination related to chronic diseases and their risk factors.

Saint Lucia has now completed two rounds of STEPS, the first in 2012 and most recently in October 2020.

The final STEPS results were received by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs from WHO/PAHO early in 2022. The official final Saint Lucia STEPS report was released in October 2023.

The goal of the STEPS survey was to determine the prevalence of common risk factors for NCDs while exploring demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population.

The 2019/2020 STEPS survey was carried out from December 2019 to October 2020, with the survey being on hold from March to June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A total of 2964 St. Lucians, a representative sample of the Saint Lucian population, were successfully interviewed. This resulted in a 71% survey response rate.

Ministry of Health Officials have highlighted the key findings of the STEPS report which have caused concern, given the association with undesirable NCD outcomes.

Overweight and obesity, a body mass index (BMI) over 25 kg/m2 and 30 kg/m2 respectively, are known to pose significant risks to health.

The 2020 STEPS results revealed that from a representative sample of the Saint Lucian population aged 18-69 years old, 65% were overweight or obese, (50% of the males, and 76.8% of the females) while 46.1% of the females and 20.6% of the males were obese, BMI>30kg/m2.

The percentage of persons surveyed with raised blood pressure was 39.4% while those with raised blood pressure who had not been previously diagnosed with hypertension was 37.3% (52.8% males and 26% females).

17.1% of respondents (13.9% males, 19.5% females) reported insufficient physical activity i.e.150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

Also concerning was the fact that 83.2% of the population interviewed did not meet WHO’s recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables a day.

The percentage of individuals surveyed with three or more risk factors for developing major NCDs (current daily smokers, eating less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, and engaging in insufficient physical activity, overweight/obese and raised blood pressure) was 35.4% of the survey population (31.3% males, 38.7% females).

Compared to the findings of the 2012 STEPS results, the prevalence of raised blood pressure has increased, from 27.3% in 2012 to 39.4%, while that of obesity in general and in men has also increased, 31.9 to 34.9 and 17.1 to 20.6 respectively.

The data from STEPS will continue to be used for the development and strengthening of current and future policies and programmes aimed at preventing and managing non communicable diseases.

From 2022 the data has been used to support initiatives such as St Lucia Moves which was launched in September 2022.

The trends in Alcohol and Tobacco use continue to  be a cause for concern and results from STEPS will guide the planning and implementation of programmes which can successfully target these risk factors.

The official results of the Saint Lucia STEPs survey can be found on the WHO website at Saint Lucia – STEPS 2019 (who.int).

The official STEPS report can be found on the govt website at https://www.govt.lc/

SOURCE: Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I’m quite confused by this information. Attempting to get information out of the statistics department and ministry of health is like pulling teeth and not being successful.

  2. Tell the truth, the vaccines are killing our people, they are injecting our children with all sorts of things

  3. Why isn’t the Ministry of Health not talking about the contribution of the poisonous Covid vaccines on the health of Saint Lucians, resulting in their deaths from what “they” now attribute to NCD –

  4. Why isn’t the Ministry of Health talking about the contribution of the poisonous Covid vaccines on the health of Saint Lucians, resulting in their deaths from what “they” now attribute to NCD –

  5. The capital of st lucia is rum can you imagine looking at mostly all st Lucia men they look swollen and their stomach is swollen what a shame..copd liver disease etc..

  6. @ Truth, Lucian, and G: you may have heard the term “knowledge is power”. Please educate yourselves before voicing these ridiculous comments..

  7. St Lucia is not serious about addressing the outsized alcohol problem on it’s shores. Every street have a rum shop and no license. There ought to be a limit to how many bar lives are given in the country. There should be rehab clinics in every single town in st Lucia and mental health support. U all eh ready yet.

  8. The Health Minster should be educating the population of St Lucia about how to prevent diabetes, and heart disease. All you just giving figures and percentages that means nothing to the local population especially those who are disadvantaged and poor. They need help and support to understand the risk factors.
    Here is a little enlightenment to educate you on how to feed your body for optimal quality of good health. Your body is a vessel, treat it with kindness and respect. You would not put cooking oil in your car if it requires petrol to run, would you? No, because your car will get damage and all your investment in purchasing, annual car maintenance at the garage by a qualified mechanic would be ruined. Your car will be a right off. Meaning, it done for, it not working properly, it mash up. So what all you think will happen when you don’t feed your body with natural, real food ? Your body slowly get mash up same way. You get it.
    Now, diabetes is a preventable disease, with proper effective lifestyle changes you can put diabetes risk into remission. Are you at risk? Get your checks done, HbA1c ranges.
    We have entered a new age where most products bought from supermarket shelves are products which the food industry produce and are designed and marketed to be addictive. Eat real foods and where possible cook from scratch using real foods. Next time you in the supermarket or go in your cupboard now and take a look at the ingredients list on the label, do you know what it is? Glucose, fructose, dextrose, lactose, sucrose, maltose. These are the words for added sugar on food labels. Cane sugar, molasses, anything ending in “ose” means that food product in your house, in your cupboard, in the supermarket contains more added sugar. Be mindful of these products, choose an alternative if possible or avoid if you can. Eat smaller portion sizes, eat more fibre rich foods, vegetables are full of good source of fibre. And please check the ingredient labels on the back of the product you are purchasing to feed your family. Simple foods is best, eggs, chicken, oats, ground provisions eaten in moderation. If you come from a low income family, avoid wasting your hard earned money on supermarket process foods. Budget your meals, bulk it up with lentils, peas, kidney beans etc. Remember Granny’s good old fashion traditional meals. Waste not, use it all up to make good tasty meals for you and your children. Don’t buy them KFC. If you must have KFC, buy the chicken and make it at home and shallow fry it as a treat on Friday nights or once a month. Call it family night take out, except it’s not bought from KFC, bucket of grease. Control your own grease bucket. Chicken, season the flour, not too much salt especially for children, keep it low sodium, shallow fry, make some nice hot creole bread, or roast bake, if you must have it use real butter or just plain and serve with a salad as a side dish, finger licking good. Any Leftovers for next day serve with small portion of rice and peas or pasta per person….not a heap on your plate, portion control is key. Make kidney beans with a few dumplings whatever you fancy that is natural and not ultra processed. Of course we can’t avoid buying some processed stuff, but ultimately its the ultra processed foods you should not consume too much of. Biscuits, sweet treat, if you must have it make some low sugar biscuits, Granny style, use coconut, carrot to sweeten, homemade rock cakes, you control how much sugar you add in your baked treats. In time your taste buds will change and you will not want those sugary biscuits and sweet treat from the supermarket. Why? because it will taste too syrupy for you. That’s the key, change how you feed your family.
    Diabetes means, the level of sugar in your blood is too high. In healthy people blood sugar levels are kept very steady. In people with type 2 diabetes the blood sugar levels are too high overnight and get even higher after eating. The answer …lifestyle changes is needed. Raised sugar levels can damage the delicate blood vessels that supply food and oxygen to all parts of the body. In simple terms, simple English….when your body’s organs don’t get the correct grocery order in other words…remember real foods….it will stop working properly. Simple as that. Eat real foods and keep all these Ultra Processed Food stuff at bay.
    Sugar looks so lovely and taste so good, it’s addictive. Yet your car is kept in optimal condition, car wash, clean, gleaming. Tell me, is your body gleaming inside like your car? Cut down on sugar. that’s my tip. Yes we can’t always avoid it in our foods, but, only you hold the power to invest in good health, just like you invest in your cars, your house, top of the range cars but you mash up inside eating wrong food. Drinking too much alcohol, driving under the influence. Drink more rum, your liver overflowing with that sweet rum made with guess what sugar, yeah man nice sweet sugar, all that alcohol makes you want a what now….nice KFC bucket of grease, you stop in your drunkard state to buy it….You dotish or what. And thats how you roll, everyday, sugar, alco, nice car shame the driver is addicted to what now…cookies, biscuits, laced with fructose, dextrose, stabilisers, emulsifiers, ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Some contain 20+ ingredients on the labels. Come on Lucians, wake up have real coffee, have real foods. All those packaged pancakes, fruit juices you giving the children, their brains still developing. Sugar rush, sugar crash, all those colourful breakfast cereals, should not be given to children.
    If you never heard of HbA1c levels, go speak to your doctor or nurse to get a full body check up. Just like you have your car checked and maintained, your body needs to be maintained for optimal health.
    And check the ingredient label, if you can’t pronounce or don’t recognise it as real food, leave it alone. Everything in moderation. Isn’t that how we eat in the old days? When you were hungry there was no fast food outlets, you waited until you got home. Over indulgence is killing us. I am not saying you must never, ever have KFC…bucket of grease…. but not everyday. Ok…Maybe once a month, once a year?
    I will leave you with this…
    It seems, We no longer want to eat local foods, it’s somehow frowned upon. People see the European type as civilised. Yet, its slowly Killing us, giving us poor health, it’s a global trend. Our caribbean communities are being fed these highly processed foods and we need to make changes on how we spend our hard earned money. Homemade fried chicken will interact with human appetite in a very different way from all those ultra processed fried chicken available all over the Island. It’s addictive, the taste, the smell keeps you wanting more, affecting your health.

  9. Way before Covid diabetes’ was rampant in St. Lucia. Feel free to conduct your own research ..in addition HBP (high blood presuure) ..love of excess sodium.

    I remember as a young girl growing up in St. Lucia ..there were amputees all over the place. I have since made the correlation. Godspeed St. Lucia.

  10. @ Jonas I am perfectly aware that Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and chronic lung disease, all of which spiked after the introduction of the Covid vaccines. Do your research and you will find out the cancer, all forms, heart disease ( myocarditis and pericarditis ) have increased exponentially amongst persons who received the vaccine. This is a fact, hence my reason for not being surprised that 82% of deaths in Saint Lucia are attributed to these diseases. What the ministry should now do is publish the percentage of deaths attributable to NCD’s before the Covid pandemic.

  11. How many people died from non communicable diseases during the covid pandemic due to Mal practice….all the focus was on covid when our diabetic, cancer, and hypertensive patients met their demise. Th hypocrisy is so rife with Healthcare!

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