MEC earmarks Comrades Marathon to promote healthy living

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pretoria - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has qualified for the 2011 Comrades Marathon, which he will use to to promote healthy lifestyles and physical activity as a means of prolonging life and preventing diseases.

Dhlomo completed the 42-km Midmar Marathon on Sunday, and now qualifies for the 89-km Comrades Marathon, set to take place on 29 May 2011.

Speaking after completing the marathon in 4 hours 55 minutes, Dhlomo said he will use the Comrades to raise awareness about the need to engage in physical activity and create awareness on the dangers of non-communicable diseases.

He noted that unhealthy diets and physical inactivity are key risk factors for the major non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

"Physical inactivity is identified as the fourth leading risk factor for pre-mature mortality. Contributing towards creating an awareness of the dangers of non-communicable diseases and ways of reducing deaths and diseases by improving diets and increasing levels of physical activity, is a noble contribution that I have decided to make in my own small way," said Dhlomo.

Dhlomo's participation in this year's Comrades Marathon will be historic as he will be the first sitting member of the legislature to enter the marathon. He hopes that through his participation, he will encourage parliamentarians, leaders of business and various leaders in many sectors to join him in his campaign to raise awareness about the ills of physical inactivity in society. 

"I hope that in the near future, business leaders will provide space and the necessary tools for workers to engage in physical activity, as this will reduce the many hours lost to absenteeism and large amounts paid to medical care," he said.