“Diseases of lifestyle invades Soweto and become one of the most burning issues which contribute towards the crowding of healthcare facilities” South Africa Minister of health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, said during the opening of a new hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.
Obesity which is a result of suspected excessive eating is one of the diseases of lifestyle that has seriously affected the South African community with a population of over 3 million. Research has shown that the risk for developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoarthritis and chronic kidney diseases are increased when a person’s weight to height ratio, also called a body mass index, exceeds 23.
According to a new study published in the medical journal the Lancet in May 2014, SA has the highest overweight and obesity rate in Sub-Saharan Africa, seven out of 10 women and 4 out of 10 men are significantly more body fat than what is deemed healthy.
Research Gate added that obesity is rife in Soweto.
On the other hand, a study by UNISA researchers states that ‘alcohol misuse combined with poor nutritional status, increases susceptibility to opportunistic diseases comprising the immune system.
“To overcome obesity it’s important to educate community continuously” According to Ms Elonah Bapela, dietician at Bheki Mhlangeni District hospital.
“Mothers are ideally a good target since they mainly cook for families and this could lay a good foundation of healthy eating behavior in many South Africans,” she said.
She also added that could be done at home and transferred to schools for a change.
On how the government through health department’s assistance can help the community win the fight, CEO of the institute Ruth Mabyana said it’s a duty for all role players to fight diseases of lifestyle particularly obesity. “Nutritional information must be spread to communities through media platforms and forth,” she said.
“Health institutions especially hospitals are mainly there for palliative care not preventative measures. Clearly government has a way of inculcating this even through the Department of Education’s Life Orientation courses,” she added.
A strong need to educate women needs is strongly urged at local clinics where they receive injections but not aware of the side effects of those contraceptives is.
One community in Soweto has taken upon themselves to eradicate the problem by utilising the City of Joburg open gym allocated in their spaces.
The gyms that are situated in public recreational parks have seen many people especially women doing aerobics there. Although its gradual this efforts can indeed reduce obesity according to a health expert.
One of the side effects of some contraceptives includes increased appetite and weight gain that leads to obesity.
If women do not follow a healthy balanced diet it can lead to obesity. This can be prevented by using the following guidelines:
Eat a variety of food
Be active (walking, skipping, climbing stairs and swimming)
Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits everyday
Use fat sparingly
Eat dry beans, split peas and soya sparingly
Make starchy foods part of most meals
Use salt and food in high salt sparingly
Drink a lot of safe water
Use sugar and drinks with high sugar sparingly