Employees and contractors of LNG producer Atlantic made a “Change for Life” and took first steps into healthier lifestyles when they recently undertook the company’s third annual Health Walk, helping to raise awareness about chronic non-communicable diseases.
The employees’ four kilometer walk along the Cap-De-Ville Road at Clifton Hill, Point Fortin was planned by the company’s Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Department to culminate activities in Atlantic’s annual Health Day.
Dr. Ishvan Ramcharitar, Atlantic’s Chief Medical Advisor said that the Health Walk helped to highlight the high prevalence locally of diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation, there were 140,300 cases of diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015 and 1,594 deaths from the disease.
“With the high prevalence of chronic non-communicable or lifestyle diseases in Trinidad and Tobago, many persons do not realize how simple preventative measures – such as walking for 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times per week – can make a huge difference,” Dr. Ramcharitar said. ”Not only does walking help to maintain a normal blood glucose level, but it has also been shown to promote weight loss, improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Kizzy Thornhill-Nandoo, Atlantic’s Health Specialist said that the theme for this year’s Walk – “Change for Life” – was chosen to reflect Atlantic’s emphasis on Wellness for employees and their families and also to emphasize the need for proactive, deliberate engagement with one’s health.
“At Atlantic, we encourage employees and service providers to set health goals with the communal support of their fellow colleagues,” Thornhill-Nandoo said. “It is a big part of the company’s culture, given the stresses of modern-day life and the need to manage life well. As part of Atlantic’s Corporate Wellness Program, we regularly promote other health and fitness initiatives, such as onsite gyms, aerobics and spin classes and even access to an in-house dietician.”
Many of the Health Walk’s participants welcomed the event’s relaxed and engaging atmosphere and the camaraderie with coworkers. Arlene Hendrickson, Atlantic’s Human Resources Officer – Employee Relations said that the team-based event bolstered motivation to maintain an active lifestyle.
“The route was optimally challenging for those now embarking on their fitness journey and persons who are more seasoned,” Hendrickson said. “It was not a competitive type of event, but rather one that ensured that all persons were accommodated and included regardless of their fitness level – no one was left behind.”
As part of Atlantic’s Health Day, employees received information about health and wellness practices, including nutrition, and were also invited to view organic food displays and a ‘fitness corner’ showcasing a wide range of exercises. Earlier in October, employees had been encouraged to embark on a 3-week weight loss challenge.