Heart Foundation calls for policies on physical activities to stem heart diseases
By Adeleye Adeyemi
The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) on Wednesday advised governments and other stakeholders to develop policies for physical activities to reduce risks of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD)especially heart diseases in the country.
Dr Kingsley Akinroye, the Executive Director of NHF, made the call while speaking with newsmen in Lagos at an event to mark the 2021 commemoration of the World Physical Activity Day (WOPAD) in Nigeria.
Akinroye, who decried extinction of walkways, playing grounds in schools, estates, malls and public places, said that physical inactivities is associated risks of many Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), such as cardiovascular disease.
“Our governments have not recognised physical activities as a core area to look into in reducing many unnecessary deaths. The playing grounds have gone.
“The children who are going to be leaders of tomorrow, do not have physical activities and place to exercise to keep their hearts healthy.
“So, we are telling the government of Nigeria, that they should not build schools that are near the roads any more. One of the conditions of building schools should be having playing grounds.
“Physical activities school be part of the children classes. Let us also have policies in Nigeria on physical activities. The policies we still have today predated independence,” Akinroye said.
According it him, the foundation has collaborated with Gyms and Wellness Centres in six states of the federation and Abuja for people to go for exercise at no cost for one week as part of NHF’s activities to mark the 2021 WOPAD commemorated every April 6 globally.
“Physical inactivity is a major risks factor for many non-communicable disease. They are highest killers in Nigeria today and in the black world. They are however preventable. We need to address physical inactivity.
“Why don’t we have gyms and wellness centres? Most schools and shopping malls in those days have playing fields for physical activities but now they are all gone.
“We are here to tell Nigerians that the more they sit the more the risks for non communicable diseases,” he added.
Akinroye said that Nigeria should inculcate in school children physical activities, like their counterparts in other climes, for them to be able to compete with other children outside the country healthily.
In her address, Mrs Pamela Umebuani, the Chairman, Planning Committee on 2021 World Physical Activity Day, NHF decried the ravaging obesity especially among children and youth in the nation.
Umebuani said: “Physical inactivity is a major risk factors for various non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as Cardiovascular Disease, (CVD), diabetes, hypertension and stroke, and cancer.
“The Nigerian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and youth 2013 to 2018 (Nigerian Heart Foundation) continued to record that Urban resident Nigerian children and youth are more overweight and obese that their rural counterpart.
“This is related to the Nutritional Transition Developing Countries are experiencing characterized by a shift from traditional types of diet to more westernised diet (high fat, high sugar, low-fibre, and less involvement in active transportation and physical activity and increase in sedentary activity).
“World Health Organization Government, non-government organisations, health and education authorities and Sports organizations should develop policies for Physical Activity that is supportive reduction of obesity.”
According to her, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that to prevent Cardiovascular Disease is 30 minutes, 5 times a week to reach at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise, or 25 minutes, 3 times a week to reach at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity.
She said that benefits of regular exercise on cardiovascular risk factors are increase in exercise tolerance, reduction in body weight, reduction in blood pressure Reduction in bad LDL and total Cholesterol, increase in good (HDL) Cholesterol and increase in insulin sensitivity
Umebuani added that reports have established that Physical inactivity is associated with increased with increased risks of stoke, heart failure and cancer.
According to her, Physical activity may reduce the risk of CVD, through preventing obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes millitus.
She explained that individuals could enjoy lower blood pressure, improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, decreased risk of heart diseases and diabetes and improve workout efficacy through exercises.
Some of the gyms and wellness centres partnered by NHF include Paslim Gym and Wellness Centre, Ikeja, I Fitness Gym, Lekki, Planet Riders Gym, Ikeja, I Am Fit Gym, Magodo and Ajah, JB Ex Trim Gym, Festac and Fitness Options Gym, Surulere in Lagos.
Others include: My Figure 8 Gym, Ibadan, Wally’s Gym and Fitness Centre, Abuja, GOC Fitness and Gym, Kano and Charlie’s Fitness Centre, Port Harcourt and others.