Lwandle residents and the surrounding areas were urged to exercise and eat healthy food to prevent health complications as part of National Obesity Week celebrations.
The event was held at Ikhwezi clinic in Nomzamo, on Friday 16 October. National Obesity Week is celebrated annually between 15 and 19 October. Obesity is regarded as one of the major health problems.
According to staff, people with obesity are also prone to diabetes and hypertension. They urged residents, mainly patients at the facility, to eat less meat and rather eat more vegetables and fruit. They also urged residents to embark on physical activities including walking their dogs and home chores.
Marcia Torris, coordinator of a nutritional programme of Masincedane Community Service (a non-profit organisation with various developmental programmes to alleviate poverty and address economic development of the unemployed), labelled obesity as a public health concern. “We find that most of the patients that are obese have either diabetes, hypertension and some chronic diseases. This is a concern because it’s costly for the health service and I always believe that prevention is better than cure,” she said. “If we educate our people more and tell them, this way we can prevent obesity. We are what we eat”.
Torris cautioned people against the lack of exercising and meat consumption.
She advised residents to substitute their meat intake with things such as soya and beans. She also warned people against fast food, saying home-cooked meals were much healthier.
Thenjeka Mqawula, Masincedane coordinator, said they were educating people about different healthy food products. “Spinach, butternut, sweet potatoes are way healthier than eating meat every day. We know residents in our communities are mostly exposed to meat, but they need to know that meat needs to be eaten moderately,” she said. “Eating healthy food is very important for the body and one always feels energetic”.
Mqawula added that most illnesses were linked to the type of food people consume.
Community worker Siphokazi Somatika said they were checking people with diabetes, hypertension and refer them to local clinics. “By eating healthy, one is reducing the risk of having many diseases that are caused by the way we eat. Not all of them listen but we educate them that eating too much meat may lead to a stroke, while eating more vegetables are way better,” said Somatika.
She said they were also monitoring people who have been diagnosed with certain chronic illnesses and advise them about healthy eating and living.