The first event is the presentation of the Foundation’s 2018 Nigerian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth for 2018, the product of two year’s research, work and analysis.
The event went quickly and smoothly. I was one of the very few persons at the event that was not a medical personnel. The presence of Doctors and Professors could have been intimidating but I have been an active participant in several of the local and international programs of the NHF for several years in the area of drawing public attention to the menace of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), in the country. These include Obesity, some cancers, diabetes, Hypertension, and some respiratory diseases that are killing Nigerians with a very real threat to the future of the youths.
Nigeria has not been able to manage the menace of infectious diseases, and to be saddled with NCDs, which affects 40+ million Nigerians, is very bad news. All previous efforts to educate and warn the public about the dangers and prevalence, and guide them to take simple measures that will significantly reduce the incidences, have fallen like dead leaves from a tree. Yet, it is right here amongst us, affecting almost every household in the country; 4 out of 10 Nigerians are affected, bringing down the life expectancy of the people, skyrocketing the cost of the very inadequate healthcare available to the public.
Yet, there are very simple, inexpensive remedies that people can take to turn the tide of this medical epidemy and make people happier and healthier. I have joined the special ‘army’ of Nigerians devoting time and resources to spreading the message and getting the government to provide the environment and health care that will support making the people DO something, anything, to stem the tidal waves of NCDs; engage in physical activity, exercise regularly, even dance regularly, adopt a simple, healthy lifestyle, eat organic foods, avoid a sedentary lifestyle of sitting for hours in front of the screens (television, computers, phones, etc), avoid fast foods, walk a lot, cycle as much as possible, let children walk or cycle to school, design city roads to encourage walking, cycling and running, do urban and even rural planning and input facilities that will make the citizens do plenty of physical activity in the course of their daily routines, run schools and institutions with exercise and sports facilities, and so on and so forth.
You can now understand the source of my excitement, interest and commitment. My work and life are all tuned to the direction of physical activity, healthy living, sports and education. The Wasimi academy is a laboratory for practicalising the theorems and postulations. Thus, it is humbling to be honoured doing what is my passion;
I am a member of the Advisory Board of ‘Exercise is Medicine’, Nigeria National Centre, American College of Medicine.
I am a consultant to the Nigeria Heart Foundation on their sports.
I have started my own campaign: ‘Just Move – Live Longer’ that I will take to as many schools as possible in Ogun State and beyond, in the next one year.
To give teeth to all the activities, I was a part of today’s ceremony at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos.
Sitting at the ‘not-so-high table’ at the ceremony this morning are: (from left in the picture) the Chairman of the Event, Professor Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal; Director-General of the National Medical Research Institute, Professor Babatunde Salako; Executive Director of the Nigerian Heart Foundation, Dr. Kola Akinroye; and yours truly, the only sports ‘professor’ sàns a Phd.