Health Minister John Boyce told delegates that Barbados was currently recording an average of three heart attacks every two days.
He said the majority of cardiovascular disease was caused by three main modifiable risk factors – tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet – and that stress as well as the types of jobs people did had also been identified as risk factors.
The Health Minister said that in Barbados, the number of adolescents becoming obese at an early age had increased and this exposed them to an increased risk of coronary artery disease later in life.
Boyce said over the past 10 years, cardiovascular disease has been the leading cause of illness and death, accounting for 30 to 40 per cent of all deaths.
He told delegates that the Barbados government and its partners in civil society and the private sector spent more than BBD$225 million 9One Barbados dollar =US$0.50 cents) annually on the prevention, control, management and treatment of diabetes and hypertension, the major intermediate risk factors for coronary artery disease.
“The Ministry of Health strongly supports the paradigm shift towards the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases through control of risk factors, and remains committed to embarking on facilitation, support and strengthening capacity and competencies of the health care system for the integrated management of chronic diseases,” the Health Minister stated.