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Jamaican leaders failing youth - Tufton

Published:Sunday | February 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Tufton

Jamaican leaders are failing the country's youth by neglecting to properly educate them on the importance of adhering to a healthy lifestyle, says Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton. He says that because of this, young people continue to pay dearly with poor health and premature deaths.

"The legacy of all of us as leaders must be to see the next generation do better, and from a public-health standpoint, you are not doing better. So we are failing, and I am going to be the first to stand on the soap box and tell everybody, with my hand up in the air because this is the job that I have. As leaders in our society today, we are failing our children if we allow them to abuse their bodies with unhealthy habits that include consumption, exposure to consumption, which is bad for them, [and] lack of physical activity."

Delivering the keynote address at the annual Healthy Lifestyle Youth Forum hosted by the Jamaica Cancer Society at the Courtleigh Auditorium, New Kingston, recently, the health minister stressed the importance of inculcating healthy habits at an early age.

"Just as how we have to train them to cross the road, train them and influence them to stick to their chores, to develop the discipline of and commitment to work, we must also train, indoctrinate them in what is healthy living and healthy lifestyle," he said.

"Many of our young people are, in fact, drinking themselves sick - whether it is alcohol or sugar drinks, or it is tobacco experimentation or marijuana experimentation, and that's why the premature death is so prevalent. Indeed, seven out of every 10 deaths in Jamaica are caused by lifestyle-related activities and physical inactivity."

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com