Worried about the rising cases of non communicable diseases in the country, such as heart failure,cancer,diabetes, stroke, obesity and hypertention and the high cost of managing them, health experts have urged Nigerians to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
The experts who made the recommendation at a public lecture in Lagos, noted that cessasion of smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, watching weight, getting 6 to 8 hours sleep as well as going for regular health checks would help in preventing these diseases and also reduce unnecessary spending on healthcare.
In the view of a nutritionist, Olubanke Claude-Wilcox, healthy lifestyle reduces risk factors for chronic illnesses such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, etc associated with higher medical costs, saving unnecessary health costs.
Claude-Wilclox, who spoke at a health forum with the theme: “Wellness: How it affect the Balance Sheet” explained that a report by the Centre for Disease Control, CDC has shown that obesity alone costs $147 billion a year.
“Diabetes, a common result of obesity, often necessitates medication, regular checkups, massive diet changes and even surgery. Obesity puts you at risk of a wide variety of costly conditions,” she added.
Claude-Wilclox further called for adoption of a healthy lifestyle in the face of economic challenges through Corporate Wellness Programmes as it can boost employee morale and thus reduce staff turnover.
She said corporate organisations should buy into corporate wellness programmes, as such programmes increase employee morale, productivity and profits, adding that reduced staff turnover can save the company time and money spent on re-training new recruits.
In her lecture entitled: “How Going Green keeps you from going in The Red”, she said with the bleak economic climate facing Nigeria, healthy lifestyle is the way to go.
“People will take fewer unnecessary sick days off. They will adopt a healthy lifestyle which needs to lower medical costs and disability costs. Being healthier brings more energy, focus and vitality thus boosting productivity. There will be reduced absenteeism and presenteeism as well boost in employee morale and reduced staff turnover.”
Also in her lecture, titled: “Is your Blood Pressure under Control?”, Medical Director, Dennis Ashley Wellness Centre and UK trained General Practitioner, Dr. Ikunna Onwuanibe noted that 45 per cent of adults who have hypertension for over 25 years do out of pocket payment for health care, adding, “this is a major challenge.”
Worldwide, three in 10 deaths are caused by cardiovascular diseases and half of the deaths are caused by hypertension. Out of the 56 million deaths worldwide, 17.5 million are due to CVD, and 9.4 million deaths are due to hypertension.
Onwuanibe identified physical inactivity, overweight, high salt intake, alcohol and family history of high blood pressure as risk factors that can lead to hypertension.
Encouraging Nigerians to learn to measure their blood pressure, she said regular check would prevent stroke or heart attack and sudden death mostly caused by chronic disease like hypertension.
On his part, Managing Director, Dennis Ashley Wellness, Dr. Chima Oti explained that the public awareness lecture was designed to educate Nigerians on the need for good health in the face of economic challenges as well as save money.
“Apart from saving cost, we are also looking at wellness as a whole, educating people on how to eat and drink right because such simple things like cutting down on your alcohol intake, engaging in physical activities and not just wake up in the morning and start running could prevent a lot of illnesses.”he said.