Seychelles' President leads anti-obesity walk as country starts major campaign
The 'Stop Obesity' event started with a one-kilometre walk around the capital of Victoria led by President Wavel Ramkalawan. (Seychelles Nation)
A day filled with fun, educational and sporting activities at Gordon Square in the capital Victoria on Sunday kick-started Seychelles' efforts to combat obesity in the population.
This was the first activity of the Seychelles Overweight and Obesity Reduction Task Force to tackle the issue of obesity in the country.
The 'Stop Obesity' event started with a one-kilometre walk around the capital of Victoria led by President Wavel Ramkalawan, who chairs the national multi-sectoral steering committee.
In its draft action plan, the committee says this "comes at a time that the World Health Organisation is putting renewed emphasis on the imperative, worldwide, to reduce overweight and obesity as a public health threat."
|This was the first activity to tackle the issue of obesity in the country. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
Concerns were raised on the rise in obesity in Seychelles in the Health Sector Performance Report 2022. The report shows that just over one in three girls - 35 percent - and just under one in three boys - 30 percent - are overweight or obese.
During a two-day workshop in July to discuss the report, principal policy analyst in the health ministry, Dr Sanjeev Pugazhendhi, described the high level of obesity as a public health urgent concern.
"We want to work with other sectors as well so that we can make evidence-based interventions, to see what can have an impact on the risk factors causing people to become obese or put on excess weight," he said.
Through the proposed plan, the committee and all its partners will work to address the issue of obesity in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
|The activities took place at the Gordon Square in the capital Victoria. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY
In the plan's preamble, Ramkalawn said the efforts the committee will make will be on educational institutions and the youth, the community and the workplaces.
He added that they are "leveraging the reach of the mass media to engage the whole nation in a concerted effort to address this challenge head on. We want every single Seychellois to be a part of this enterprise."
Meanwhile, at Sunday's event, the director general for community affairs, Denise Clarisse, who is also on the steering committee, expressed satisfaction at the turn-out for the event at Gordon Square.
Speaking to the media, Clarisse said that she was satisfied to see people had turned up despite the rain.
Now that the plan is officially launched and the first activity has been held, Clarisse said that "all the stakeholders will be contacted to proceed with the initiative of fighting obesity in the country."