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Nutrition can’t wait: let’s protect the vulnerable.

Malnutrition multiplies the threat of disease. A malnourished person has a higher chance of falling sick, staying sick, or even dying. Their immunity is lowered, increasing their susceptibility to infection. On the other hand, being sick increases your risk of being malnourished, setting in motion a vicious cycle.

With the COVID pandemic, people suffering from malnutrition and related diseases are experiencing worse symptoms from COVID even death.

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Suffering high cholesterol? It could be in your genes.

Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder characterized by high levels of cholesterol in the blood. People with FH have a gene mutation that interferes with clearing cholesterol from the body. As a result, affected individuals tend to accumulate low density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) which builds up in the walls of the arteries, causing hardening of arteries, also known as atherosclerosis. Now when FH is left untreated, it can result in early heart attacks and heart diseases in adults as well as young adults and children.

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Build a healthy lifestyle to ward off the risk of diabetes

It takes 21 days to build a habit. Granted, we have a chance to build habits that promote a healthy lifestyle.

So what habits can you start building?

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease. Going by this definition, health is not one thing, and it is definitely not the same for everyone. That notwithstanding, practices such as healthy eating, physical activity, moderated alcohol consumption and smoking cessation have been shown to be critical in achieving health, and therefore forming very good ground for habits that you can build.

Among the many threats to health, obesity is one of, if not the fastest growing challenge. It is also largely influenced by habit: basically our lifestyle. Sometimes we know what to do, but most times we miss out the why.

So why is it especially important that you set losing weight and observing a healthy lifestyle as the why for your healthy habits?

A recent study “obesity, unfavourable lifestyle and genetic risk of type 2 diabetes” has shown that obesity and unfavourable lifestyles increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, regardless of the genetic predisposition. Compared to normal weight people, obese people were almost six times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, while those who were overweight had a 2.4 risk.

On the other hand, people who had high genetic predisposition scores had twice as high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And when all three factors; obesity, unfavourable lifestyle and high genetic predisposition score, were factored, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased upto 14.5 times.  

Notably, compared to normal weight people who had low genetic risk and observed a favourable health lifestyle, obese people were 8.4 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

As such, a healthy lifestyle, especially managing your weight could be what keeps you from getting type 2 diabetes.

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breastfeeding baby

Lifelong dietary habits linked to early-life sensory experiences

When I was a little girl, my mother and I were once invited for a cup of tea by a neighbour. I quickly declined because the offer was ‘ndubia’– kikuyu for sugarless tea.

My mother says my response went something like; “I can’t take tea without sugar. Not even for money”. Ha! The irony is that years later, and presently, I do not take sugar in any beverage.

Now, children are biologically born with a tendency to prefer sweet foods over bitter foods.

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Taking care of your elderly loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic

The curfew and containment period was extendThe curfew and containment period was extended and we cannot travel to see our elderly parents and/ or grandparents upcountry. And with the cases of COVID-19 still growing, it is not advisable. This is because people above 60 have been identified as among those most vulnerable to COVID-19, with severe- even deadly- cases of infection. People in this age tend to have more chronic conditions than the younger people, lower immunity while diseases and conditions recovery often tends to be slower and more complicated, hence their vulnerability. But although we cannot be with them physically, we can still take care of them.

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How to prevent overweight and obesity in time of quarantine

Health experts across the globe are concerned that staying at home may contribute to obesity especially for people living in urban set ups. This is because people are stocking up on a lot of highly processed and high energy comfort foods. At the same time, opportunities for physical activity have greatly reduced. But even with the situation, we are not helpless. We can take action to prevent weight gain, and resulting overweight or obesity.

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Arterial stiffness rife in adolescents with long-term obesity

According to UNICEF, there are about 1.2 Billion adolescents aged 10-19 in the world today. The population of adolescents has rapidly grown and particularly so in the developing countries. In Sub- Saharan Africa, adolescents make the largest proportion of the population, where 23 per cent of the population is aged 10–19 (UNICEF, 2016). This population is however, according to studies, facing a lot more health challenges than those faced years back. One such health challenge is obesity. Read More

Suboptimal diet causes more deaths than any other risk factor in the world.

According to the global burden of diseases study tracking the consumption of major foods and nutrients from 1990 to 2017 in 195 countries, published in The Lancet, people could benefit from eating adequate amounts of various foods and nutrients. Poor diets have been linked to a wide range of chronic diseases and 1 in every 5 deaths attributed to poor diet. Read More

Sugar rush or sugar crash?

Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Before you grab that “sugar boost” because you feel spent, you may want to consider taking a walk to refill your water bottle or simply stretch. According to a new study by the University of Warwick, Humboldt University of Berlin, and Lancaster University, sugar does not help to improve mood or make you more alert. Instead, it can actually make you feel more tired and less alert after consumption. Read More

Let’s eliminate transfats in food

Last year in May, World Health Organization released REPLACE, a step by step guide aimed at eliminating industry trans-fatty acids from the global food supply by 2023. Trans-fats are artificially created fats where hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil to make it solid like shortening and margarine. They became popular in the food industry because they were inexpensive, gave food a longer shelf-life and mad it tastier. They have therefore been used largely to make deep-fried fast foods, baked goods, crackers, chips, and in some coffee creamers. Read More

Prevention better than reaction in Turkana

In the news the last couple of days, the tag of war between politicians and residents of Turkana has been apparent, with the latter reporting deaths from hunger while the former say that the deaths have not been directly linked to hunger. I take this to mean they did not drop dead because they haven’t had something to eat. But while this is very much possible, it is also possible that their lack of food did result in diseases that caused their death. In which case the death would be an indirect consequence of hunger. Read More

Healthy diet vital in managing arthritis

<a style="background-color:black;color:white;text-decoration:none;padding:4px 6px;font-family:-apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "San Francisco", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Ubuntu, Roboto, Noto, "Segoe UI", Arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;font-weight:bold;line-height:1.2;display:inline-block;border-radius:3px" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" title="Download free do whatever you want high-resolution photos from Megan Hodges"><span style="display:inline-block;padding:2px 3px"><svg xmlns="" style="height:12px;width:auto;position:relative;vertical-align:middle;top:-2px;fill:white" viewBox="0 0 32 32"><title>unsplash-logo</title><path d="M10 9V0h12v9H10zm12 5h10v18H0V14h10v9h12v-9z"></path></svg></span><span style="display:inline-block;padding:2px 3px">Megan Hodges</span></a>According to a study published by the University of Rochester Medical Center last year, junk food aggravates joint pain and arthritis. From the study, gut microbiome appear to be responsible for the inflammation that causes joint pain due to wear and tear of joints of obese individuals. Now arthritis is the inflammation of joints. The two most common types are; osteoarthritis which is degenerative and results from the wearing out of the protective cartilage of the bones, and rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune disease- the immune system mistakenly attacks joints. Read More