Nutrition and nutrition related activities and programmes continue to play a critical role in the promotion of health and wellness in the population. The focus is on monitoring nutritional status of children 0-5 years, developing nutrition policies, conducting nutrition research, implementation of nutrition programmes, counselling, training and capacity building, and conducting education and public awareness in the media and community.
The main objective of these activities and programmes is to enhance the capability of the population to take responsibility for their own health by making healthy food choices, engaging in regular, sustained physical activity and reducing the use of tobacco and alcohol.
Chronic Non Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) which include obesity, hypertension, diabetes and some forms of cancers, continue to affect our population as reflected in the high mortality rates and the negative impact on productivity. The increase in consumption of foods high in salt, fat and sugar compromises our good health, while our intake of fruits and vegetables is inadequate. In addition, physical inactivity contributes to weight gain, increased fatigue, early onset of CNCDs, increased stress and anxiety.
Clinic data reveal that the prevalence of overweight and obese children (0-59 months) rose from 9% in 2000 to 12.0% in 2009. In addition, the Global School Health survey, it is estimated that about one quarter (24.8%) of adolescents (13-15 years) were overweight and 9.1% obese. Meanwhile, it is reported in the STEPS survey of 2008, that within the age group 15-64, 24.9% were overweight and 20.2% obese. These alarming statistics propels the Ministry of Health into interventions which call for a united front to battle CNCDs.
Therefore, the population goal to reduce the prevalence of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) still poses many challenges for health providers. However, the emphasis therefore is on each individual to use the information and maximize the services provided to make informed decisions and take responsibility for their health.
Remember, you can make the first step to better health today!