While some Batswana are gradually improving their lifestyle, many are still lagging behindÔÇöunaware of the dangers posed by unhealthy living. A study conducted by WHO in 2008 revealed that one third of Botswana’s population is obese and that non communicable diseases are on the rise. As part of her public relations exam, Loretta Mekgwe organised a campaign that challenges this status quo of harmful habits. On the morning of July 24, the University of Botswana Student Centre hosted this exceptional event.
Smart Chow Healthy Eating seminar, which aimed at helping the public to learn how to eat better, check their health status and assist people in gaining insight on the benefits of regular exercise, had an array of speakers from different fields that encourage a healthy lifestyle. Dr Sekemete of Metro Clinic kick started the seminar as he explained the nature of non-communicable diseases, “the majority of diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, stroke chronic lung diseases and even cancer relate to diet and lifestyle habits,” he revealed. “The worrying thing about unhealthy habits is that it has led to these diet related diseases doubling in the last few years,” added the doctor, who also provided a stall for people to check their blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar.
Gym instructors also graced the event. One of them was Tiyapo Graves who conducts Zumba classes in Gaborone. She mentioned how exercise benefits the body in numerous ways and the importance of identifying an exercise routine that is most preferable to one’s routine. “All the excess we get from over eating is best shed through exercise. You could also do it to not only lose weight but to tone, to keep fit and as a stress release,” said Tiyapo. She put much emphasis on the fact that exercise doesn’t have to cost money, “if you cannot pay for gym membership or any other activities make use of what is available: take a jog around your neighbourhood or do sit ups in the comfort of your home,” she said.
Mmamotse Maloka took a more practical, exciting approach on what was said by Tiyapo. She showed the audience ways of exercising using a typical chair. “To stay healthy does not have to be costly,” she said while using one of the attendees to demonstrate fat burning workouts. Mmamotse is a personal trainer from South Africa and has appeared on Big Brother Africa as a fitness instructor.
The highlight of the event definitely had to be the Zumba aerobathon demonstration where most of the audience filled the open space to dance to the upbeat music that added an exhilarating mood to the exercise routine.
Other speakers included Desmond Lunga of Men and Boys For Gender Equality who highlighted that his company has initiated a campaign titled ‘360 Free’ that took ten media personalities in Botswana and challenged them to stop drinking alcohol for a year in an effort to see how it would impact their overall health. Nametso Ngwako also spoke on her radio slot on Gabz FM called Wellness Live that tackles day to day health and lifestyle issues and the show runs every Tuesday from 6pm-7pm.
This campaign was proudly sponsored by Cresta Presidential Hotel, Gabz FM, Metro Clinic, Tsholo Fitness, No to Obesity, University of Botswana and Zumba in Gabz. “It’s been a successful event and I’m very thankful for the support,” Loretta enthused.