The regional response to the grave threat posed by Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) must be intensified immediately if the health, wellbeing and development gains of Caribbean people are to be protected.

That was the key message emerging this morning from the opening ceremony of a major regional workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad which brought together ministers, academics, experts and activists from 14 Caribbean countries to review the results of an expert evaluation of the landmark 2007 CARICOM Port of Spain Declaration on NCDs.

NCDs, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer, are taking a heavy toll on the population in the region. In some countries, 80 per cent of adults are overweight or obese, more than half have high blood pressure and 25 per cent are diabetic.

According to Dr. Alafia Samuels, Director of the Chronic Disease Research Centre and Chair of the opening ceremony for the two-day workshop, the action plan emerging from the workshop would enable people to make healthy choices and changes.

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