‘An un­healthy life­style is a ma­jor cause of death coun­try­wide’

The New Age (Gauteng) - - NORTHERN CAPE NEWS - NOMUSA MVUBU no­musam@the­newage.co.za

DI­A­BETES, stroke and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease (CVD) are among the non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases (NCDs) that ac­count for 55.5% of deaths in the coun­try.

This is ac­cord­ing to Dr Gun­vant Goolab, the prin­ci­pal ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees Med­i­cal Scheme.

“Dis­eases re­lated to un­healthy life­styles and poor di­ets rep­re­sent a grow­ing health and eco­nomic bur­den in South Africa that re­quires most ur­gent at­ten­tion,” Goolab said.

He said there were grow­ing chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with NCDs.

“This fig­ure is most sober­ing and high­lights the chal­lenge that NCDs pose to our coun­try.

“Mil­lions of South Africans suf­fer from, and are be­ing treated for, NCDs. Aside from the im­mense suf­fer­ing they cause, they rep­re­sent a sig­nif­i­cant risk to the lo­cal health­care sec­tor, the suc­cess­ful im­ple­men­ta­tion of Na­tional Health In­sur­ance and the broader econ­omy.”

“We as a coun­try need to work to­gether in a de­ter­mined and co­or­di­nated man­ner while there is still time to do so if we are to mit­i­gate the mas­sive risk that these dis­eases pose to the sus­tain­abil­ity of our en­tire health­care sys­tem.”

Goolab said life­style choices, if not taken se­ri­ously, of­ten lead to can­cers, type 2 di­a­betes and heart dis­ease.

“These can in­clude ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion, fam­ily his­tory of a dis­ease and a num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors.

“Many of the dis­eases can be at­trib­uted to the fact that peo­ple do not ex­er­cise, have un­healthy di­ets, use to­bacco prod­ucts ex­ces­sively and binge drink.”

Goolab said the grow­ing num­ber of fast food restau­rants in South Africa pro­duc­ing prod­ucts that were loaded with sugar, car­bo­hy­drates, salt and sat­u­rated fats were wors­en­ing the con­di­tions faced by health­care fa­cil­i­ties.

“Poverty also plays a role in this trend. Poorer peo­ple find it con­sid­er­ably more dif­fi­cult to af­ford healthy foods.

“The gov­ern­ment has been lead­ing the way in ad­dress­ing these prob­lems through leg­is­la­tion aimed at re­duc­ing the con­tent of un­healthy salt and sug­ars in our food,” he said.

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