With the increased risk of non-communicable diseases in the country, the Health Minister, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on Friday launched Health and Fitness Group Uganda, a facility that utilises lab findings, relies on the latest technology, professional doctors and fitness gurus to provide fitness solutions and recommendations guided scientifically to enhance healthy living.
NCDs are those that do not arise from infectious agents and cannot be spread from person to person, but are mostly genetic disorders and/or lifestyle related.
The facility, located along Ggaba road, Kabalagala at South Point Mall, level 3, in Kampala, provides services at affordable rates.
Launching the facility, Aceng said that Uganda used to be a healthy country, but was affected by the consumption of unhealthy foods by the Ugandan population.
The facility, she said, will help many Ugandans get to know how to be free from non communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer among others.
“Many of you are very much aware about our health conditions in Uganda. Uganda used to be a very healthy country when people would work hard but also eat the native foods. But along the way, we changed, and we want to eat all the nice things but at the same time become sick,” Aceng said.
“So, having a fitness school like this, will not only inform us of what is going on in our bodies, but also remind us that we have risks of illness and deaths,” she added.
The Minister called on Ugandans to mind their diets in order to be fit and healthy.
“So, what we eat determines who we are, and at the end of the day, when you become sick, you are responsible for your own health. This is crucial not only for the youth, but even people like us (older people) who need to know our health status and work on it accordingly. It is never too late to begin to take care of your health,” she said.
Aceng decried the common African narrative of envying people with excessive weight, on grounds that they are doing well.
“Weight has been our culture as Africans. When people see you fat, they assume you are doing well, you have money, you are rich. They forget that you are actually heading the wrong way. So, we need to begin to change that thinking, for people to know that when you are fit, your body is solid, you are healthy,” she noted.
However, the Minister pointed out, even lean people can be sick, “we have seen many lean people with high blood pressure, with diabetes, and they have gone ahead to develop cancer.”
The Minister reminded Ugandans that it is always important to carry out a routine check-up and keep healthy and fit.
The Facility has acquired state of the art equipment (Styku) for a Wellness and Fitness Center, which through scanning, will be able to provide instant analysis on body fat, caloric expenditure, body shape analysis, fat loss calculation, risk analysis, risk reduction among others.
The above analysis will form a professional perspective guide on what needs to be done and how, by an individual during their fitness and wellness journey.
A well-equipped Extreme Fitness school on the same premises will train and graduate instructors with skills and knowledge on wellness and fitness.
These instructors, through partnerships, will work with various organizations and institutions directly with individuals through scheduled routines during their fitness and wellness programs.
Health and Fitness Group Uganda will among other services also provide; Dialysis Nutrition management, Type 2 Diabetes management and Reversal, Ketogenic and intermittent fasting plan, nutrition and diet counseling, cardiovascular disease nutritional management, weight management, oncological nutrition and diet planning, detox planning and management, micronutrient and macronutrient supplement.
Other such initiatives
In 2018, President Museveni launched an annual National Day of Physical Activity to galvanise Ugandans to adopt a healthy lifestyle; one that specifically involves regular exercise and consumption of healthy foods to fight Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
They include illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and cancer, and according to the Health Ministry, up to 40% of the deaths in Uganda today are brought about by NCDs.
It is estimated that 500,000 people (2.7 per cent of males and 3 per cent of females) in Uganda have diabetes.
Each year, 170,000 people die of asthma and another 200,000 people die of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
A total of 350 of every 100,000 people have cancer translating into 8,000 cases of cancer every year. Overweight cases in Uganda stand at 18.6 per cent and obesity at 3.9 per cent.