The Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Health’s Chronic Non-communicable Disease Risk Factor Survey (Pan American STEPS, 2012) revealed that the twin island nation has one of the highest prevalence, morbidity and mortality rates for chronic Non-communicable Diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer) in the Caribbean, and these rates have been steadily increasing over time. In Trinidad and Tobago, Non-communicable Diseases account for over 60 percent of premature loss of life (death before 70 years). The prevalence of diabetes in Trinidad and Tobago is one of the highest of all the countries in the region of the Americas (PAHO). This is likely due, in part, to the high carbohydrate intake, urbanization mostly due to the shift from manual labour and agriculture to a highly technological service sector resulting in low levels of physical activity.
Non-communicable Diseases share common risk factors, including modifiable biological risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and behavioural risks such as unhealthy diets and obesity, tobacco use, alcohol abuse and physical inactivity.
The statistics show a definite need to upscale prevention efforts, and in 2014, PSI-C began developing Core a stand-alone program using a Life Course Approach, focusing prevention efforts on youth between 10-19 years of age with the aim of increasing their physical activity, improving their diet and reducing tobacco and alcohol use to prevent the development of chronic diseases.