Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has encouraged residents in the province to participate in physical activity on Tuesday for Move for Health Day.
Move for Health Day is an international event created in 2002 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote physical activity.
Dhlomo, who is a leading sitting politician in KwaZulu-Natal to promote the benefits of healthy active living, said that Move for Health Day event bring people together in a spirit of fun, inclusivity and support of healthy active living.
"Your community and/or workplace could host a walk, create a physical activity challenge or any other activity that engages people in the celebration of being active.
"Parks, open spaces and community halls give people places and spaces to relax, reflect, be active and to meet with friends and neighbours, and promoting these social resources increases access to physical activity and social gathering opportunities for citizens," he said.
Dhlomo also expressed Health Minister's concerns, Aaron Motsoaledi regarding the increasing rate of non-communicable diseases or lifestyle diseases.
In a statement released on 28 April 2011, ahead of the WHO Conference on Non-communicable diseases in Moscow, Motsoaledi said it was high time that the country mount a serious assault against diseases such as hypertension, diabetes among others in the same way it is doing against HIV and Aids.
South Africa has over the years seen an increase in diseases including hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes increasing among South Africa's population.
According to the preliminary results of the KwaZulu-Natal Primary Health Care (PHC) Disease Profile, out of a total of 10 009 PHC patients, 12.4 percent patients presented with hypertension, which is the highest number, followed by TB patients with 9.9 percent, 9.4 percent respiratory illnesses, upper respiratory tract illnesses 5.4 percent and HIV 5.0 percent.
"He adds that the National Burden of Disease in South Africa have as the most common causes of mortality in public hospitals as TB, gastroenteritis, pneumonia, hypertension and cancer.
"It is believed that these diseases affect the younger populations including teenagers and the economically active....we have been advised that for every R1 spent in healthy and active promoting programmes, we save about R100 in healthcare spending in chronic diseases of lifestyle," said Dhlomo.
He noted that the call on the Move for Health Day is to start addressing the two main risk factors for non-communicable diseases, namely, diet and physical activity adding that engaging in physical activity is essential for building strong bodies, healthy minds, self esteem, social skills and community values.
"It can improve family interactions and reduce depression, stress, loneliness, and self-destructive and anti-social behaviour."
He further noted that the private sector can also be a significant player as responsible employers and as advocates for healthy lifestyles.
"All could become partners with government and non-governmental organizations in implementing measures aimed at sending positive and consistent messages to facilitate and enable integrated efforts to encourage healthy eating and physical activity."