Big, fat women

Big, fat women

MASERU- BASOTHO women are having their waist lines broader and bigger.
Obesity and being overweight in the country are on the increase among women and are at their highest since 1997.
Being overweight and obesity are linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes (high blood sugar), high blood pressure, certain cancers and other chronic conditions.
From big bodies being associated with healthy wellbeing, wealth, happiness and contentment to being a true African woman, many have accepted vivacious bodies as complimentary and a demonstration of a good life.

A report compiled by doctors from Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) states that in 2016, obesity prevalence among Basotho women was at 26.7 percent while in 1997 it was at 14.6 percent.
The statistic has been on the rise at an average of 3.23 percent between 1997 and 2016, the report states.
According to Centre for Disease Control (CDC), weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese.
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is used as a screening tool to measure being overweight or obesity.

Lesotho currently ranks number 128 out of 180 countries in the world in obesity prevalence.
It may not look too bad but bringing it down to a population of 2.2 million people of which 1.5 million are adults, Lesotho has at least 200 000 people who are obese.
Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital had an independent study on obesity in three of its filter clinics.
The objective for the research was to evaluate the prevalence of obesity among chronic patients in three of the facilities run by Tšepong, a company also running the Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

With a sample of 892 596 (66.8 percent) were overweight or obese majority of which were patients of ages 18-44 years at 36 percent and 45-64 years at 38 percent.
The research states that from a sample of 226 males and 666 females, it was noted that 92 of the male participants were obese while 504 of the female participants were obese.
The study was aimed at creating awareness regarding healthy lifestyles amongst colleagues and patients attending OPD.
According to a Lesotho Demographic Health Survey (LDHS 2014), 50 percent of urban women are overweight or obese compared to 42 percent in the rural areas.
The reason could be that obesity increases with wealth, according to the survey.

Doctor Salome Joshua Mzinga, who gave a presentation on Obesity Pathophysiology, said reasons for obesity differ.
They may be socio-cultural, environmental, behavioural, physiological, genetics or epigenetics, he said.
Socio-cultural contributors range from preference for food high in fat and or carbohydrates, large portions of food, work-life circumstances such as heavy time commitment to work, social and family obligations, sleep deprivation, alcohol and watching TV.

Environmental contributors are community infrastructure that is not conducive to physical activities which may be unsafe, proximity to home, lack of transport or ubiquity of escalators and elevators.
“Television watching, alcohol intake, and sleep deprivation do not merely correlate with obesity but likely contribute to it by encouraging and facilitating excessive eating. Mechanisms by affecting cognitive functions involved in reward saliency and inhibitory control,” Mzinga said.

Obesity puts people at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, sleep apnea and gerd (acid reflux) to mention a few.
Doctor Matondo Nganga, in a report titled Strategy in Managing Obesity Complications and Cost Preventions, said the goal of obesity treatment is to reach and stay at a healthy weight.
This improves overall health and lowers the risk of developing complications related to obesity.
Dr Nganga said treatment of obesity starts with comprehensive lifestyle management, which should include self-monitoring of caloric intake and physical activity, goal setting, stimulus control and relapse prevention.

Dr Nganga says that all weight loss programmes require change in eating habits and increased physical activity.
“The right treatment for patients depends on their obesity severity, their overall health and their willingness to participate in the weight-loss plan,” Dr Nganga said.
Diet is most important in weight.

The correct diet is a remedy to obesity and this is to say plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, high fibre food, low fat, low sugar and low salt intake.
Dr Nganga said the top 10 most unhealthy take-away foods were potato chips and crisps, fried chicken and fried fish, fat cakes, hot dogs, sausages and polony, hamburgers, pies and pizza, bunny chows, sweetened fruit juices and cold drinks, cakes and sweets.

Dr Nganga advises people to spend 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per week or 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least five days of the week.
“Stopping the epidemic of obesity is everyone’s problem. Even people with a healthy weight, need to have a plan: how to keep from gaining weight,” Dr Nganga said.
“The good news is that everyone can work towards a healthier weight by knowing yourself, taking action, making it easier to be healthy,” Dr Nganga said.
Dr Nganga said other treatments to obesity may be medications and surgery.

Rose Moremoholo

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