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Non-Communicable diseases take the world by storm
Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghanadot

Accra, March 9, Ghanadot - The incidence of non-communicable diseases in the world is rising in recent years.

Indeed, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that by the year 2020, non-communicable diseases would be the cause of over 70% of the global disease onus and this must be a cause for concern.

The world would be saddled on a greater scale with diseases namely diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gout, cancers and obesity.

These diseases would be causing more deaths among the teeming youth and all those in the productive age (the economic active group).

Ghana our beloved country is now caught in the tangle-web of both non-communicable and communicable diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis and this poses a Herculean health threat to the citizenries.

The combination of non-communicable with the already gigantic load of communicable diseases in a third world country like Ghana is heavy enough to decimate national efforts, peace, productivity and economic gains within a twinkle of an eye.

The importance of a clean environment, good food and healthy lifestyle in contemporary world cannot be over-emphasised in the prevention of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Furthermore, in a bid to alleviate both communicable and non-communicable diseases burden in the country, the Ministry of Health last year introduced a Regenerative and Nutrition and Lifestyle programme in Ghana to educate Ghanaians on the need of healthy lifestyle, among others.

To start, lifestyle is a key ingredient to quality health. It is a big key to the control of non-communicable diseases.

Good lifestyle issues include exercise, balanced diet, flexible work schedule, no smoking habits and little or moderate alcohol intake, leisure, recreational activities and stress-free living.

All these play major contributing roles in promoting health and longevity and thereby foster national development.

Many of the factors that cause communicable diseases largely fall outside the scope of the individual’s control. For non-communicable diseases, however, it is largely a matter of lifestyle for which individuals can exercise a maximum level of control.

The key for the control of such diseases is exercise. Exercise ranks highly in the lifestyle factor.

The term exercise refers to any physical activity-a move for health. Physical activity is any body movement that results in the use of energy (burning of calories). When you walk briskly, play, jog, swim, ride a bicycle, clean a house, dance, weed a compound or climb stairs, you are moving for health.

Regular moderate physical activity is one of the easiest and surest ways to ameliorate and maintain good health. It promotes healthy growth and development in children and young people.

It has the potential to prevent and control non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis-the brittle bone disease.

Exercise also increases one’s energy levels, reduces stress, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure and lowers risk of some cancers.

It also enhances confidence and self-esteem, improves mobility and energy level of people with disability, reduces or prevents certain disabilities.

It can reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness and improve physical and mental agility.

In sum, exercise can reduce the risk of dying prematurely, of dying from cardiovascular diseases or stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, lower back pains and depression.

To encourage people to exercise, to reap the vast health benefits, the Ghana Health Service (GHS), together with the World Health Organisation (WHO), had since 2002 initiated a Health Work Programme.

Even exercise formed the fulcrum theme of 2002’s World Health Day celebration, which was “Move For Health”.

Since its initiation by Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, the then Director-General of GHS, the event has been held regularly on monthly basis and has spread to all the ten regions of the country.

The Health Walk, which is being supervised by the Ghana Health Service, is held on the third Saturday of every month, staring from major polyclinics throughout the country, through designated points.

It is often accompanied by brass band, and one would see children, adults and old people walking and dancing, moving for health.

The music accompanying the walk, not only brings joy, but it is also good sound to announce to all Ghanaians to take one’s health in one’s own hands, and as well as protect and promote it.

The Health Walk, as a physical activity, is to send a strong message to everybody that we can make the decision to improve upon our health.

Corporate Ghana also participated and sponsored most of the Health Walks across the length and breadth of the country.

Indeed, Keep Fit Clubs in Ghana , especially those in the Accra , Tema and Kumasi metropolis should be commended for going on walks in the mornings at weekends, not only to burn the stored fats but also to warm them up for the weekend’s activities.

Wouldn’t it be a good idea if all families and communities got into such healthy activities, which when well organized, could foster togetherness and companionship?

The benefits would be far reaching. Mama, Papa and the children, President, Ministers, Clergymen, Members of Parliament, District Chief Executives, Assembly members and all members of the community could use the end of walk to discuss issues on peace, security, education and above all improvement of the homes, the neighbourhood and the community.

The houses and the buildings that have become drab and lacklustre because they were painted long ago, the grime on the walls, the choked gutters, the stagnant water and bushes could be attended to after such walks.

Truly, move for health, balanced diet, healthy lifestyles, exercise and clean environments are paramount requisites for good health.






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