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Experts worry over high rate of diabetes, obesity

Task FG to adopt health-friendly policies

By Erezi Efeunu & Daniel Oduvwu

MEDICAL experts have aurged Nigerians to cultivate healthy lifestyle as part of measures to prevent exposure to various forms of non-communicable diseases.

The experts who spoke in Lagos at the Sunfit 2016 Fitness and Health week programme, tasked government to put in place health friendly policies.

At the event put together by Sunfit International Ltd., Lagos,  Senior Consultant Cardiologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Dr. Casmir Omachi observed that the rate of obesity among Nigerian children was alarming and if not checked, spells doom for the future.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, there were more than 1.56 million cases of Diabetes in Nigeria in 2015, while millions are diagnosed with obesity annually.   Omachi who said deliberate effort should be taken to reduce the trend, argued that over the next 50 years, cases of 20-year- old youths diagnosed with stroke would become rampant.

“By the time children start becoming obese early they lay down the fat cells which is difficult to take back. Those cells can only increase which make them become obese and make them prone to diabetes early in life.

“Diabetes and obesity are all cardiovascular risk factors. In most cases, it only takes 10 years from onset to the manifestation of the risk factor. If a child becomes hypertensive at age 15, by age 25 such child may have stroke,” he opined

Omachi said currently most stroke patients aged 45 to 50 years are working class, with many at the peak of their career, but health challenges are denying them the chance to contribute to societal development.”

Omachi said engaging in a minimum of 30 minutes regular exercise daily helps the body stay active and lose fat. “Government should make sidewalks available on roads to help promote regular exercises. They should also make policies that will mandate every eatery to label their food.” Also speaking, a nutritionist, Deborah Onoja, observed that many persons are unable to fit in nutritional patterns into their daily routine.

“Some run to fast foods, take soft drinks and load their bodies with carbohydrates yet remain physically inactive.

“When people don’t use up the glucose in their body systems and leave it to accummulate, it prompts the body to produce more insulin and  over a long period of time, this puts a lot of workload on the pancreas making it unable to produce enough insulin that the body needs, and that will lead to high blood glucose level.”

She advocated good nutrition and diet such as potassium that helps the heart muscles, vitamin C for the immune system, vitamins A & B, proteins, etc.

The General Manager, SUNFIT, Mr. Kelechi Ononiwu said that the need to raise awareness of people and their consciousness towards their lifestyle informed the initiation of the programme.

“In 2015, when we flagged off the programme, more than 1,000 people within Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos were tested and we realised that 78 per cent of them live  sedentary lifestyle.

People were not engaging in physical activity and the nature of their work also required them to sit down a lot. We realised that 50 per cent were either obese or overweight which is a direct result of inactivity while 30 per cent were hypertensive.

“When you look at those figures, you could say 1 in 3 persons was dealing with blood pressure issues and a lot of them were not even aware that they were hypertensive.

“So annually we are raising awareness towards lifestyles choices, on what people should eat, activities to engage in, dangers of tobacco smoking and alcohol intake.”

 


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