by Hlengiwe Moepe, founder of Marpemed
As an entrepreneur, are you fully aware of the importance of good nutrition, and avoiding becoming overweight or obese? Your food choices each day affect your health — how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future. Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
To help you with your road to fitness and health, here are some key facts by the World Health Organization
- Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
- In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
- 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
- Most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
- 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
- Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
- Obesity is preventable.
So, what exactly causes obesity and overweight? The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. Globally, there has been:
- An increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat – FAST FOODS
- An increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.
- Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes
What are the common health consequences of overweight and obesity?
- Cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012;
- Degenerative disease of the joints - Musculoskeletal disorders
- Some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).
The risk for these non-communicable diseases increases, with increases in BMI. Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and psychological effects.
So, how exactly can overweight and obesity be reduced? Overweight and obesity is a non-communicable disease that is largely preventable by making the choice of healthier foods and regular physical activity the easiest choice (the choice that is the most accessible, available and affordable), and therefore preventing overweight and obesity.
At the individual level, you can:
- Limit energy intake from total fats and sugars;
- Increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and
- Engage in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the week for adults).
Hlengiwe Moepe is founder and Director of MARPEMED (PTY) Ltd, a health and medical solutions company specializing in Digital Healthcare Services, Health and Wellness, and Pharmaceuticals. After 13 years of working for corporate multi-national organisations, Hlengiwe Moepe took the step to establish her own Healthcare Company. Hlengiwe Moepe has started a cooperative called Marpemed Community Healthcare Services Co-Operative (MCHCS) focused on providing Public Healthcare Services, Health Education and Trainings to urban and rural communities in South Africa and across the African continent. www.marpemed.co.za