North-West University: NWU and UNICEF host workshop on health and nutrition

There is an increase in the number of South African young people who are overweight and obese, especially among young females.

This is according to a newly published UNICEF baseline study on diet and physical activity among youth and adolescents for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) prevention in South Africa.

Evidently, 31,3% of 15 to 19-year-old females were reported to be overweight or obese compared to 9,6% of males. In the 20 to 24-year-old group, the number rose to 60% of females compared with 14,5% of males. The study also found that family, friends, and the school environment play a significant role in shaping and maintaining diet and physical activity habits.

To mitigate the above, the UNICEF National office, in collaboration with the North-West University (NWU) and supported by AstraXeneca, hosted a Youth Advocacy Guide training workshop on health and nutrition at the NWU’s campus in Mahikeng from 11 to 13 August 2022.

The objective of this initiative was to build awareness among young people about obesity and the challenges of NCDs, to empower them with knowledge and skills to be nutrition advocates, and to enable these youth advocates to influence policy changes on issues affecting young people in the country.

Representing the UNICEF national office was Amir Bagherioromi, volunteer programme and campaigning officer, Lea Castro, health officer and Ariza Francisco, a health intern.

“UNICEF’s national office is committed to training young people on advocacy for nutrition and physical activity to prevent NCDs,” says Amir.

“Through this training intervention we want to empower young people to advocate for proper nutrition and care among their age groups, mothers, adolescents and young children.”

Vice-president and advocacy chair of the NWU UNICEF chapter, Oscar Mosenogi, says as young people they need to take care of their own well-being.

“It is important to invest more in advancing our knowledge about preventative measures to overcome health problems,” says Oscar.

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