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WATCH: Mamelodi's elderly show us it's never too late to eat healthy

31 October, 03:29 PM

Many poor communities in South Africa have limited access to healthy food, but this student is determined to teach senior citizens in Mamelodi, Pretoria, about living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle. Watch.

Reabetjoe Mokoko is an aspiring dietitian who is motivating and encouraging the elderly in her community to change their eating ways.

"We live in times of non-communicable diseases – lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, hypertension – diseases that can be prevented by leading the correct lifestyle," she said.

"So if we are able to motivate and encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles, we actually protect them from things like diabetes and high blood pressure which have serious consequences."

The 27-year-old adds that her weekly visits to the Matomba/ Sinqobile Day Care for the elderly has opened her eyes to how little knowledge they have about healthy eating.

For the final year dietetics student, having her own business 'Plates and Scales' has led her a step closer to changing the ways her community see food. 

"We are a country that has made being obese okay, we’ve made it an acceptable norm," Mokoko said.

"We say 'ufreshe' (you look fresh). Those small things make people think it’s okay to be overweight, but it’s actually not.”

She adds that there are many cost-effective and healthy measures that less fortunate families can make to start living healthy lives. 

Mokoko encourages her community members to plant their own vegetables.

"Food in South Africa is very expensive.. but it comes down to how you make the changes," she said.

UPDATED TO ADD: Mokoko worked on the project with fellow University of Pretoria students Lanine Herman, Petra Louw and Danielle van Alphen.

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