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Urban children more prone to obesity – study

Children living in cities in Nigeria are more overweight and obese than their rural peers, according to a study on Physical Activity for Children and Youth 2013 to 2018.

The study conducted by the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), indicates that the outcome it is related to a shift from traditional types of diet to more westernised diet, which are high in fat, sugar, low fibre; coupled with less involvement inactive transportation and physical activities.

The NHF, therefore, urged the World Health Organisation (WHO), government, non-government organisations, health and education authorities to develop policies for physical activity that will be supportive of reduction in obesity among the youth population, as the world marks Physical Activity Day 2021.

According to the foundation, policies on physical activity are necessary because of the ravaging effect of obesity and other non-communicable diseases especially among children and youth.

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“Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for various non-communicable diseases (NCDS), such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and cancer,” said Pamela Umebuani, chairperson, planning committee of the NHF World Physical Activity Day 2021.

Umebuani who is also the director, Paslim health, fitness centre-spa, Lagos Country Club, Ikeja, said several reports have established that physical inactivity is associated with increased risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure and cancer. “Physical activity may reduce the risk of CVD through preventing obesity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and diabetes mellitus,” she stated.

Kingsley Akinroye, executive secretary, NHF said the WHO guideline on physical activity recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.

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