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Should Nigerian Men Care About Their Weight More? By Goke Akinfemi

Add this to the discussion had here on SBM about the risks of hypertension amongst Nigerians. If you haven’t read it, click on here. Discussions about the risks associated with the lifestyle of the urban Nigerian man, where it’s drive to work early, perhaps skipping breakfast, sit for hours at your desk, have a heavy lunch of probably Eba or Amala-( a local starchy meal), and head on home late only to have another late carbo- induced dinner before shuffling  off to bed. We all know that a large portion of our well known locally sourced and consumed dishes rank quite high in calories and in carbs. I’d say we men should care not just about our weight, but our health too!

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The carbs and fat have no choice but to pile up, and up they go because there’s no where and no way to let it out! The tummy extends vertically and the body posture suffers the repercussions. Given that picture, we can say there’s a lot to be worried about… but it’s definitely not something that cannot be fixed! First comes that realization. The one that suggests that rather than wait for hypertension, diabetes and any other condition we’d rather not hear or talk about come around the corner and spot us, we should take on the challenge  head on!

It gets better, although it sometimes takes an unexpected but necessary visit to the doctor, where he warns us of what could happen if we remain complacent and refuse to jolt our lives back to sanity by making out time to exercise and eat right.

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So while the man in the village who practically walks  or cycles almost everywhere, has little or no issues with exercising, they are not so far ahead! They mostly do not have access to clean portable water and good health facilities, they also tend to drink a lot and yes their produce is fresher,  but are they consuming what’s right?  One trip to the village and an evening walk down the narrow stretch of one of the streets will have you see the men lounging at the popular beer stops or in front of their homes, their bellies out front! They are  one of two extremes- almost obese or grossly underweight!

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Compared with the city, where men wrestle also with fatty foods and very poor eating habits, it’s a case of same challenge different routes. The urban male may be forced to keep up an exercise routine after the doctor’s strict recommendations, but do we really have to wait to get to that point? Is it a culture for us to believe that we are not likely to fall ill or suffer sickness because of our weight brought about by an indolent lifestyle until the doctor says so? Should our excuse of the high cost of  healthy foods be condoned? that dieters are those with higher incomes than non dieters… Are we so caught up working to fulfil an isatiable desire for wealth that we care little about our health? or weight? The answer is yes my brothers. That era of assuming that a man with a ‘pot belly’ is well taken care of by his wife, is gone! Nigerian men should begin to beat the statistics and live long, long enough to protect our families and enjoy life to the fullest!