Move Move Move
Move for Health day is on 10 May and promotes physical activity.
An increasing number of people, including children, are following an unhealthy diet and are not physically active. As a result, more and more people are suffering from chronic diseases of lifestyle.
The Western Cape Department of Health serves close to 75% of the population; a third of which suffers from chronic diseases. Healthy living, eating and physical activity are considered major contributors to combat adverse health outcomes including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Patients need to take responsibility for their own health and actively start changing lifestyle habits.
An example of such a patient is 54-year-old Magdalena Buis from Herbetsdale who is half the size she was two years ago. Buis is a chronic patient who suffered from many ailments including pain in her one leg. ‘I weighed 120 kg but still felt that my diet was normal.’ Buis used to eat a lot of bread with little or no fruit and vegetables, tons of sugar in her coffee and tea, soft drinks and a lot of salt. Her portion sizes were too large and she did not do any physical activity. ‘I had my blood pressure taken during my doctor’s appointment in 2014 and it was high. The doctor referred me to the dietician at Mossel Bay Hospital. This is where my journey to 62kg started.’
Buis, with the support of her husband, changed her lifestyle. She followed the eating programme designed by the dietician and exercised daily. Her husband even made weights for her and created a course in the backyard. ‘He has been very supportive; something I am so grateful for,’ said Buis. Not only has Buis lost and maintained the weight but her healthy eating habits have rubbed off on her grandchildren too. ‘They will ask me to make broccoli for them, can you believe it?!’ Buis would like to thank her dietician, Esther Swanepoel, who walked this long and sometimes difficult journey with her as well as Dr Kleynhans and other health staff who crossed her path during this time.
So often people think that healthy eating and physical activity is expensive. This is not true. There are many ways that people can eat healthier and exercise with what they have at their disposal to better their health.
• Walking is a good form of exercise and you do not need any special equipment.
• It is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels.
• It can help reduce: blood pressure, risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
• Walking is also good for your mood.
• Drink water instead of soft drinks.
• Eat less sugar.
• Eat less fat and avoid fried foods.
• Add less salt to your food.
• Eat more fruits and vegetables per day.
To promote a healthy lifestyle movement, Western Cape Government (WCG) launched the WoW! initiative in 2015. Through WoW! WCG actively advocated and activated increased health-related physical activity, healthier eating and a healthy weight in order to prevent and reduce the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as hypertension and diabetes.
‘WoW! is a jewel in Western Cape Government's disease prevention strategy. With it, we have been able to bring together 35 partners from government, the NGO sector, private sector and community-based organisations, all with one goal in mind – preaching the message of wellness. Moving forward, we must instil in individuals throughout our communities a sense of personal responsibility for their own health and well-being. This will normalise the culture of wellness and assist in transforming the very nature of our communities,’ said the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
The initiative was tested within school settings, work sites and communities, and will now be expanded in phases across the Western Cape. The short-term outcomes include achieving and maintaining:
- awareness about the risks, prevention and self-management of NCDs
- increased physical activity and/or improved fitness
- healthy eating
- a healthy weight
- an inclusive communication platform
- supportive environments that enable people to develop healthy lifestyles
The long-term outcomes are to:
I. prevent, reduce and better self-manage chronic diseases
II. promote food security through the promotion and development of food gardens