A balanced diet and eating properly is one of the foundations of good health. Health is a lifelong journey but according to Women Health blog, women often neglect their own well being while taking of people around them. In South Africa, the need for self-care amongst women has shown itself through the country’s high obesity rate in women aged 15 years and older.
The 28 May (Tuesday) marks International Day of Action for Women’s Health and this year it focuses on reminding women to carve out the time they need to eat healthy, practice self-care.
According to the Healthy Living Alliance (HEALA) a diet rich in salt, saturated fat and added sugar is one of the most commonly known causes of obesity. HEALA’s Communications Coordinator, Thando Lamula, says South Africa is the most obese nation in Sub-Saharan Africa, and our obesity rates continue to rise rapidly. As a result, obesity is one of the top 5 risk factors for death and disability in the country.
“South African women are the most affected when it comes to obesity, with 69% of women in the country being obese and overweight, which is significantly higher when compared to 40% of males who are obese and overweight.”
Health-e spoke to two women to find out some of the challenges they face in leading healthy lives. NoMaphelo Msuthu is a 35-year-old woman from Eastern Cape who says staying healthy is her first priority.
“As women, we take care of everyone our spouses, children, parents, friends etc. However, we tend to neglect ourselves especially when it concerns our health. I make sure each meal in my house is healthy, I avoid fatty food, I eat a small portion of food, drink a lot of water and do some exercises e.g. sit-ups once every day,” Msuthu said.
However, for Neliswa Mbashe (28), also from Eastern Cape, sticking to healthy eating habits is tough because she likes eating whatever she likes at any time she wishes. Mbashe admits that she knows the dangers of not minding what she eats but cannot help herself.
“I eat too much junk food and in large portions. I see that this has affected me physically because I now weight over 100 kg from 65 kg in a space a few minutes. Nurses suggested that I should go on a diet. It’s not easy to take steps for better health but I had no choice but to fight for my health before it’s too late,” she said.
East Cape-based doctor Nomsa Business has advised women to get regular screening tests and maintain a healthy weight through regular exercises. However, she told OurHealth that some women are struggling to do exercises for various health reasons including chest pains.
“My advice for women is don’t smoke, to eat healthy foods and protect themselves against sexually transmitted infections by practising safe sex.”