To shine a bright light on the dangers of physical inactivity and the need for exercise, President Museveni and his entire cabinet will demonstrably walk 10 kilometres from Kololo Ceremonial Grounds via Lugogo and back on July 14.
On the same day, several sports; volleyball, football, netball and basketball will be played and the general public will be screened for non-communicable diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
The walk and other activities will be in commemoration of the ministry of Health organised Uganda’s second National Physical Activity Day. The day is meant to highlight the importance of physical activity as a much-needed intervention to prevent and control Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
“Physical activity is any form of bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Being physically inactive is the major risk factor for developing NCDs such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and mental illness,” Jane Ruth Aceng, the minister of Health, explained.
To Aceng, physical inactivity is the fourth leading worldwide cause of death. It’s estimated that one in four adults globally is physically active enough. World Health Organisation recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week or 30 minutes of moderate activity daily among adults while children and adults require a minimum of one hour per day of physical activity, Aceng further explained.
“It’s important that people engage in physical activities they enjoy like cycling, jogging, gardening, playing sports like football, volleyball and basketball,” Aceng added.
She said cases of physical inactivity are more on the rise in rural than urban areas, more in adults than in younger groups and more in female than in male counterparts.
“......The survey indicated that adults aged between 50 and 69 years are more physically inactive (7.8%) compared to the younger age groups i.e. 18-29 years (14.1%) and 30-49 years (3.2%). Females are also less active as compared to their male counterparts (women 4.9%, men 3.7%),” she said.
According to Aceng, urbanisation is one of the factors that have led to physical inactivity among our population. This is due to use of motorised transport such as boda bodas and cars, use of computers, remote control for electronic gadgets and excessive television watching.
In addition, Aceng said that working settings that require long sitting hours like offices, markets and shops also result in inactivity and bone, joint and back problems.
“However, Ugandans should create a favourable environment for regular exercises including mandatory physical education in schools, eating healthy foods available and reduction in sugars and salts in foods and beverages etc...”
The National Day of Physical Activity (NDPA) was launched by the government and will be held every second Sunday of July as a way of controlling the increased cases of non-communicable diseases. ￼￼￼￼￼