01.02.01. Prevalence and burden of significant non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or conditions | Jamaica

01.02.01. Prevalence and burden of significant non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or conditions | Jamaica

23 Sep 2022

Jamaica has carried out their National Health and Lifestyle Surveys since 2000, which  aim to provide current accurate estimates of Jamaicans’ health status across leading public health issues, including NCDs. Though there is no set schedule for the surveys, it has historically occurred approximately every decade. Much of the information for this section was taken from the third Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey (JHLS) (2016-2017) Preliminary Key Findings report (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018). The findings of the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey-III were preliminary and as such exact percentages were not provided for all the major health issues Jamaicans face.


When compared to previous surveys, there has been a steady increase in the prevalence of hypertension among Jamaicans over 15 years of age, with 58.3% of males and 57% of females identified as having hypertension, (when defined as BP > 130/80mmHg00). This figure is up by just over 10% from the first JHLS conducted between 2000 and 2001 (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).


Overall, between 2016-2017, the prevalence of diabetes among Jamaicans 15 years and older stands at 12%, with the most frequent incidence of diabetes occurring among Jamaicans 75 years and older (42 %). In addition, 12% of Jamaicans were found to have pre-diabetes, with a slightly higher prevalence rate found among women than men. The rate of diabetes increased from previous surveys conducted between 2007-2008, indicating an increase of approximately 4% over a ten-year period (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).

Overweight and Obesity

More than half of Jamaicans (54%) were classified as overweight (pre-obese or obese) in 2016-2017. Approximately, two thirds of Jamaican women were classified as pre-obese, and women were disproportionately affected by obesity in comparison to Jamaican males. Jamaicans aged 35-64 years experienced the highest rates of pre-obesity and obesity (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).

Mental Health – Depression

The major mental health measure used in the JHLS-III was depression. According to the survey, the prevalence of depression among  Jamaicans over 15 years of age stands at 14.3% (when depression was defined using the DSM-V criteria: presence of 5 or more depressive symptoms/suicidal ideation). The incidence of depression was highest among urban women (19.2%) and lowest among rural men (7.3%). The highest incidence of depression occurred among Jamaicans 75 years and older at 20.8%, indicating that older, urban women have the highest rates of depression in Jamaica (Ministry of Health Jamaica, 2018).


Ministry of Health Jamaica. (2018). Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey III: Preliminary Findings. https://www.moh.gov.jm/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Jamaica-Health-and-Lifestyle-Survey-III-2016-2017.pdf