Initiative To Promote Health and Wellness for Residents Named ‘Our Best Life’ Announced by Bryan
Governor Albert Bryan, as part of his “Healthier Horizons” initiative to promote the health and wellness of Virgin Islanders, announced Monday his new “Our Best Life” program to support the physical, mental and emotional well-being of residents with a focus on the senior population, Government House has announced.
According to the administration, “Our Best Life” is being managed jointly by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation.
As part of this new health and wellness initiative, Mr. Bryan is re-establishing the Commission on Aging to suggest policies affecting seniors; provide more training for home healthcare aides; and expanding “Meals on Wheels” services. Additionally, in the upcoming weeks the Department of Parks, Sports and Recreation will announce plans for major family-oriented events, and the “Our Best Life” website is scheduled to debut live on May 16.
“Virgin Islanders spend more than $150 million annually in medical claims. Most of that money is spent in “sick care,” Mr. Bryan said. “Locally, heart disease is the leading cause of death and diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death. Some of the risk factors associated with these major chronic conditions are what we eat, or do not eat, and how active we are.”
- 16.8 percent of V.I. residents have diabetes.
- 26.1 percent of VI adults have high blood pressure.
- 71 percent of VI adults said they consume fewer than five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily .
- 51 percent of VI adults do not do 30 minutes of physical activity five or more times per week
“Where I see a challenge, I also see an opportunity. And today we have an opportunity to make some changes so that we our living our best lives,” the governor said. “The focus is to keep you out of the hospital, not to make the hospitals better.”
The “Our Best Life” campaign falls under the umbrella of the Governor’s “Healthier Horizons” initiative, which is based on four primary tenets:
- Expanding access to health care.
- Improving that care.
- Modernizing health care facilities.
- Modernizing how health care services are delivered.
According to the release, since launching the “Healthier Horizons” initiative at the end of 2019, Mr. Bryan has pushed through a number of legislative measures and executive orders to support it, including merging the V.I. Fire Service and Emergency Medical Services; creating the Office of Health Information Technology, to promote and oversee telemedicine services in the Territory; and introducing the Association Health Plan program to expand access to quality, affordable health coverage for U.S. Virgin Islands residents employed by small businesses.
The governor has also submitted comprehensive behavioral health and developmental disabilities legislation to overhaul the system that cares for and monitors that vulnerable population.
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