Beating the blubber Recent blog posts

Beating the blubber

Beating the blubber

The facts don't lie. We're bursting at the seams with two-thirds of South African women overweight and 25% of our population eating a high-sugar and fat diet (Tim Noakes will not be surprised) ... but are we doing anything about it? Let's see what's happening at NMMU.      

In an ideal world, NMMU would already be living out its vision that includes a pedestrian-friendly environment. In this world of tomorrow motorised transport will be kept to a minimum and by default (in protecting our environment), we'll have a leaner and healthier student body. This, however, is up for debate since the majority of our students do not have access to cars. They already walk - a lot - but they are not all healthy-looking individuals.


In fact, I imagine that a survey of NMMU staff and student will throw up a pretty similar picture of poor health to that captured in the results of the first South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council and the Medical Research Council.


The survey found that six out of every 10 women have waists of 88cm or more, putting them at significant risk of lifestyle diseases; one in two women (and one in three men) failed a fitness test and a total of 22% of all two- to five-year-olds are overweight or obese. It's all fairly frightening.


And then there's the other side of the coin - those who go hungry. 


The same national survey found that nearly 34% of all 10 to 14-year-olds have no food to eat for breakfast and just more than 18% of children have no one to help them pack a school lunch.


Again, I would hazard a guess that there are students at NMMU who do go hungry too which brings me to the point of this particular blog.


We know these things - we know that many of our staff and students are leading unhealthy lifestyles or are going hungry - but are we doing anything about it?


The answer is a resounding yes. 


NMMU now has a great wellness programme that seeks to ensure that its staff lead healthy lifestyles. As a result, we have been exposed to everything from motivational talks, exercise classes, lifestyle planning, health talks on diabetes, high blood pressure and the like. They have even started a walking club led by a biokineticist and also give staff the opportunity to sign up for the lifestyle eating plan, Weigh Less.


The university is also blessed with fabulous sporting facilities and is about to reopen its revamped Fitness and Aquatic Centre. There are umpteen sporting codes which both staff and students can enjoy. 


On the flip side, various initiatives are now in place to quietly support those who are hungry. Campus Health provides such identified students with food parcels in a subtle, dignified manner.


So yes, support structures to ensure a healthier staff and student body are in place. The challenge to get people to take advantage of them and experiences the benefits. 


I know that one department at least is beating the battle of the bulge as they embrace the Weigh Less option. "We are all supporting each other. It's been so good".


But for the few who are taking advantage of the opportunities, there are so many, many others who are not. It's how to reach them, how to motivate them and lead them into a healthier lifestyle?


Any ideas?


In the meantime, where's that yoga class? 



Posted by Debbie Derry on 08 August 2013 13:15:25
Filed under: hungry, NMMU, obese, Twitter, fat

Current rating: 0 (0 ratings)

Bookmark this page to:Add to Live Add to Google Bookmarks Add to Delicious Add to Digg Add to Blogmarks Add to StumbleUpon Add to Yahoo Bookmarks Add to Terchnorati Add to Twitter Add to Yahoo MyWeb Add to Reddit Add to Facebook

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.

Sign in

By signing in you accept these
Terms of Use

Latest blog comments

Nic Wickens
THoughtful and interesting

Alon Serper
Let us understand the other side, engage him or her, put ou...

Alon Serper
Thank you Sameera, Racism is inexcusable. There canno...

Sameera Patel
It is always heartening to come across a non-mainstream vie...

Online Community Manager
These confessions pages are certainly a very interesting (i...


Telephone: 041-504 1111 | Fax: 041-504 2574 / 2731 | E-mail:

PO Box 77000 | Nelson Mandela University | Port Elizabeth | 6031 | South Africa