Every morning Joan a 28 year old mother of one wakes up in the morning heads to the kitchen prepares a heavy breakfast that has lots meat, milk, sausages ,cheese and butter and heads off to work in her car, she eats intermittently twice before lunch, goes for a heavy lunch and eats twice before heading to bed. She has been doing this continuously for as long as she remembers but recently her workmates are getting worried about her weight and she now weighs 157kg.
This is the kind of eating behaviors exhibited by most Ugandans and research shows that most Ugandans mainly young ones and young adults are becoming over weight and obese thus increasing their chances of developing heart diseases and high blood pressure. It is therefore not uncommon to find a 3 year old weighing 30kg or more.
Whether you are under weight, normal weight, overweight or obese can be determined using the BMI or body mass index. This is the obtained by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of his/her height in meters.
BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.
Underweight is from 16.0 to 18.5, Normal (healthy weight) is from 18.5 to 25, Overweight is from 25 to 30 and above 30 is considered to be obese.
This has not been helped by the sedentary life style that is common amongst the middle and high class of Uganda. People no longer jog or go for aerobics citing busy work schedules
Tips of healthy eating are easy to follow and can be practiced by everybody and are;
Base your meals on starchy foods
Starchy foods include potatoes, posho, cassava, cereals, pasta, rice and bread.
Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
It’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and vegetables a day.
Eat more plant protein that animal protein
plants like beans and peas are good sources of protein and fish contains many vitamins and minerals
Cut down on saturated fat and sugar Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as hard cheese, cakes, biscuits, sausages, cream, butter and pies
Eat less salt
Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much.
Get active and be a healthy weight Physical activity can help you to maintain weight loss or be a healthy weight. Being active doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym, you can find ways to fit more activity into your daily life. For example, try getting off the bus one stop early on the way home from work, and walk.
Don’t get thirsty
we need to drink about two liters of fluid every day to stop us getting dehydrated and avoid over consumption of alcohol.
Source: Katwesigye Rodgers, Pharmacist Mulago Hospital