President Yoweri Museveni has asked all Ugandans to exercise regularly in order to avoid non-communicable diseases.
He made the remarks at the launch of the National Physical Fitness Day yesterday, which was recently approved by cabinet with the aim of addressing the rising burden of Non-Communicable Diseases like Cancer and Hypertension, Diabetes among others.
As part of the launch, President Museveni led a 10 kilometre procession accompanied by hundreds of people including politicians, members of armed forces and ordinary Ugandans.
Addressing the participants at the end of the procession, Museveni said Non-Communicable Diseases are killing a large number of people in Uganda yet they are easy to stop. He explained that Non-Communicable Diseases are caused by consumption of too much food and lack of exercise.
He therefore, urged medical practitioners to sensitise the public on how to prevent these killer diseases.
Speaking at the same function, Dr. John Omangino, the Executive Director Uganda Heart Institute, explained that physical exercise helps the heart to function well, because it helps burn calories generated by excess food.
He said excess food causes problems to the blood vessels, which may result in hypertension, stroke and other non-communicable diseases.
Ruth Aceng, Uganda’s minister of health, said increased physical activity should be combined with eating healthy that includes more fruits and vegetables, reducing the intake of salt and sugars, stop smoking of tobacco and limit consumption of alcohol.
The NCD risk factor survey (2014) showed huge physical inactivity was noted in the urban population where 8 percent of adults were considered inactive compared to 3.5 percent among rural population.
According to the ministry of health, 7.8 percent of adults aged between 50 and 69 are more physically inactive compared to the younger age groups of 18-29 at 4.1 percent and 30-49 at 3.2 percent.