A three-day health camp at the Ugandan parliament has uncovered that majority of Uganda’s members of parliament need more exercise after 90 per cent of the law makers were found to be overweight and just a few of them are in a state of morbid obesity which could lead to immediate death.
However, 320 government ministers, Members of Parliament and parliament staff were all tested for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), last week on April 4.
One of the MPs tested on Tuesday was found to be weighing 145kg, a body mass index (BMI) that puts one in a state of morbid obesity according to Mulago hospital senior consultant physician Dr Fredrick Nakwagala.
“I think the record breaker was the person who weighed 145kg on Tuesday and imagine he is a short person. This person is subject to death anytime from now,” he added.
The partial results of the ministers, MPs and parliamentary staff indicated that lest the politicians need to change their diets and lifestyle, they are at risk of suffering from NCDs, according to Dr Fredrick Nakwagala.The politicians rapid weight gain has been pinned on poor feeding habits due to the presence of junk food like chicken, chips and alcohol in the parliament canteen.
“For the three days I have been at parliament, I have observed that the canteen has junk food. I have also seen alcohol on their menu, which poses high health risks,” Nakwagala said.
The Doctor said that the legislators need to exercise, carry out regular medical screening and eat a balanced diet which is rich in fibre, green vegetables, low- cholesterol foods and protein if they are to survive longer.
Jacob Oulanyah, the deputy speaker, asked his fellow legislators not to let diseases, which can be avoided, to kill them as they pretend not to have time to exercise.The results also indicated that some parliamentary staff who are less than 30 years of age had a body weight of up to 100kgs.
“It’s a very scaring that a country that has not been having these problems related to being overweight is now having them. We now have problems of child obesity… sincerely, you are 24-years and you are weighing 101kgs! How many kilograms will you be at 30 or 40 years?” Nakwagala asked.
Being overweight is associated with NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes according to World Health Organization. NCDs which are often associated with older age groups but recent statistics have shown that over 16 million deaths are due to NCDs before the age of 70.