By Mulengera Reporters
President Museveni will on Sunday 14th July lead a 10km marathon of his entire cabinet and the marathoners will run from Kololo Ceremonial Grounds to Jinja Road and back to Kololo via Lugogo by-pass. According to Health Minister Ruth Aceng, the event is aimed at marking the inaugural national physical activity day that will be marked in Uganda annually.
This Sunday marathon comes on the heels of reports that recently during the budget reading by Minister Matia Kasaija, an elderly frail Minister urinated in the chair because of frail health arising from physical inactivity and gratefully the media never reported the incidence. They perhaps never got wind of it and it remains a top secret among few of the cabinet ministers who witnessed their elderly colleague (from Northern Uganda) doing this. It was realized during departure time and the elderly Minister nervously confessed to colleagues saying (Abiriga-style) “I was badly off.”
And Aceng says this is part of the government strategy to check on the rampant spread of non-communicable diseases largely due to increased inactivity by holders of public office in Uganda.
Besides the mini-marathon, there will also be other sporting activities in which ministers are expected to participate including volleyball, football, netball and basketball.
Aceng says the involvement of the President and the entire cabinet is meant to raise the profile of the subsequent national physical activity days in the coming years. She says the overall objective is spur interest among the rest of the public to underline the importance of undertaking physical activity and exercise regularly. She says increased physical activity helps to diminish the prevalence of NCDs like cancer, high-blood pressure, diabetes and heart diseases all of which thrive on absence of physical activity.
Aceng says inactivity and lack of physical exercise is the 4th major cause of death globally yet the WHO studies have previously disclosed that in every 4 adults, only one is physically active and least susceptible to NCDs. Consequently, WHO recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity for every adult human being per week. She says activities like cycling, jogging, gardening and football are all a good way to comply with the required levels of physical activity.
Adults aged 50-69 are the most inactive and this is the bracket in which majority ministers fall. Urbanization is another cause explaining decline in physical activity because people tend to travel using cars and other transport methods as opposed to the village ways of walking on foot and in the process exercise their muscles. The national physical activity day was recently designated by government and will be held annually on every 2nd Sunday of July. But as they await that day, the more athletic Ministers are holding their breath praying hard that their more elderly colleagues don’t commit the goof of the century by coming dressed in their characteristic oversize (aka Supreme Court) suits as if coming for a cabinet meeting or a parliamentary session. (For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).