Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

NGO raises alarm over obesity rise in Africa

With the increasing rate of obesity in the continent, going by the projection of World Health Organisation, WHO, that more than one- third of African women and a quarter of African men are overweight, a non-governmental organisation, InVcap, has raised worry over the development.

Founding partner and Chief Executive Officer at InVcap, Mrs Olutoyin Oyelade, told journalists in Lagos, that Nigerians indeed have reasons to be worried going by the WHO projection that between 2006 and 2010 obesity in Nigeria is as high as 35 per cent.

To address the challenge, Oyelade said her organisation will promote physical activity among Nigerians given its immense values, adding that staying active reduces obesity, diminished risk of chronic and acute diseases, enhanced immune system and increased life expectancy.

She added that the physical and recreational activities will tackle high incidence of diseases, promote healthy lifestyles and longevity, stating that "people are considered obese when their Body Mass Index, BMI, a measurement obtained by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of the person’s height in metres, exceeds 30 kg/m2.

"WHO reports posits that those that have BMI less than 18.5 are underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 normal weight; 25.0 to 29.9 overweight; 30.0 to 34.9 are in class one obesity; 35.0 to 39.9 class two obesity and BMI greater than 40.0 are in class three obesity."

According to her, “every time sedentary people walk a mile, they add 21 minutes to their life, saving society 34 cents in medical and related costs. Every hour you spend exercising increases your life expectancy by two hours. People in a regular exercise programme at age 75 have a lower death rate over the next few years than similar groups of sedentary people.”

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