National Nutrition Week 2019
In the Western Cape, people are suffering from hunger and under-nutrition on the one hand and rising obesity and diet-related diseases on the other.
The report on early childhood development in South Africa, released by Stats SA, has found that 11,9% of children in the Western Cape were underweight due to poor nutrition. Poor nutrition can impact negatively on mental and physical development.
According to Stats SA, 62.2% of women and 25.1% of men in the Western Cape are overweight or obese. Being overweight can lead to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
Healthy eating is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. Choosing healthier food options plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. A well-balanced diet combined with regular physical activity is the cornerstone of good health.
National Nutrition Week 2019
National Nutrition Week from 9 to 15 October, highlights the importance of nutrition in a healthy lifestyle which consists of a combination of healthy eating and exercise.
“Make eating whole foods a way of life” is the theme for National Nutrition Week 2019.
Whole foods are foods that have undergone minimal-to-no-processing. These usually include fruits, vegetables, and some animal products. Foods that have undergone excessive processing lose their nutritional value.
People who choose whole foods over excessively-processed foods have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Another advantage of eating mostly whole foods comes from the vast range of nutrients acting together.
Choosing whole foods also helps you avoid unhealthy fats – such as trans fats and saturated fats – often added to ultra-processed foods and fast food.
You’ll be eating healthier fats such as omega-3 oils from fish, nuts like walnuts, and seeds like linseed and chia; and monounsaturated fat from plant sources such as avocado, and nuts such as almonds, cashews, and peanuts.
Choosing whole foods is surprisingly easy. Next time you need a snack, consider replacing:
- sugary breakfast cereal with a bowl of porridge with banana or berries
- a muesli bar with a handful of mixed nuts
- white bread with wholemeal or wholegrain bread
- fruit juice with whole fruit
- ham or other deli meats with roast chicken or pork.
Try to avoid eating sweets, chocolate chip cookies, snack cakes and rolls, mini doughnuts, sausage meats, high-fat cheeses, cheese snacks, and ice cream.
Make use of this healthy eating checklist to help guide you.
If you’re preparing tomorrow’s lunch, have a look at these menu options to help you make informed decisions.
Tips to stay healthy at the workplace
When at work, try using the stairs rather than lifts. When at your desk, stand up to stretch regularly even when you're taking a phone call. Try and stand during meetings where it’s possible. Make a point of walking to your meetings in nearby buildings and walk to your colleagues instead of calling or e-mailing them. Have a 5 minute activity break every hour during meetings. Avoid scheduling meetings over the lunch period to enable your employees or colleagues to be active and participate in sports teams, lunchtime walking and jogging groups and events.
The W.O.W Initiative
The Western Cape on Wellness (W.O.W) initiative seeks to promote a healthy lifestyle movement in the Western Cape.
The short term outcomes the Western Cape on Wellness hopes to achieve through this initiative is to maintain increased health-related physical activity such as running, healthy eating, healthy weight, an accessible communication platform, and a supportive environment. The long-term goals are preventing, reducing and controlling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which include obesity and promoting food security.
Children and nutrition
The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) partnered with Woolworths, the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and dieticians Shelly Meltzer and Associates to launch the Healthy Eating Guide for school tuck shops. The guide aims to promote healthy eating and beat lifestyle diseases such as obesity.