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Staying Active during Coronavirus Self-Isolation

Ahe extensive social distancing policies put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 mean most people will have to spend much, if not all, their time at home. Self-isolation means far fewer opportunities to be physically active if you are used to walking or cycling for transportation and doing leisure time sports. But equally worryingly, the home environment also offers abundant opportunity to be sedentary (sitting or reclining). While self-isolation measures are necessary, our bodies and minds still need exercise to function well, prevent weight gain and keep the spirits up during these challenging times.

Exercise can help keep our immune system become strong, less susceptible to infections and their most severe consequences, and better able to recover from them. Keeping active everyday is good for your body, mind and spirit especially during these stressful times. And more physical activities you do can improve your sleep which is also important for good health. Being active means engaging your body in more physical activities in order that you remain healthy within this lockdown period and afterwards.

How much physical activity?

Global recommendations are for all adults to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, as well as muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

Any activity is better than none, and more activity provides more physical and mental health benefits.

As several countries are already under lockdown, it is uncertain for how long you can go outside for a walk, run or cycle. The key question is how can people meet these guidelines when restricted to the home environment?

Sitting, standing and movement

Take regular breaks from continuous sitting in front of your computer, tablet, or smartphone every 20 to 30 minutes. For example, you could take a few minutes break to walk around the house or take some fresh air on the balcony.
There are many great resources for such indoor bodyweight exercises for people of all ages online. Aim for at least a couple of own bodyweight sessions per week, with each session involving two to four sets of eight to 15 repetitions of each strength-promoting exercise. Make sure you take a two to three minutes rest between sets.

Just do something! Left unattended, the self-isolation imposed by COVID-19 will likely skyrocket sedentary time and will drastically reduce the physical activity levels for many. Our suggestions are only a few examples of ideas that need no special equipment and can be done within limited space.

For more ideas take a look at the online resources of reputable organisations such as the World Health Organisation. The end goal during self-isolation is to prevent long term physical and mental health damage by sitting less, moving as often as possible, and aiming to maintain fitness by huffing and puffing a few times a day.

Stay active and ahead of COVID19!

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Capacity Development

Public Health research is not an end in itself; it is intended to generate knowledge that can be used to improve service delivery, policies and practices. AHEAD aids capacity building of health professionals through training and mentoring, bridging the gap that exists between researchers and policy makers which inevitably impacts on quality of research and intervention. The health care systems in Nigeria is continually challenged with inadequately resourced professionals in terms of leadership and management knowledge and skills, this immensely contributes to the perpetual under-performance of health professionals and systems in Nigeria. This is the underlying philosophy of the “Leading and Managing for Result” workshop developed and implemented by Academy for Health Development, and many other relevant workshops.

Workshop Title: Workshop on Programme Management Training for Health Professionals (Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (SACA) & State + SMOH) – 21st to 23rd, October, 2015

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN)

Training Location: Ikeja, Lagos state, Nigeria


Workshop Title: Programme Management and Leadership Training for Health Professional (OYSACA+SMOH) – 28th to 30th October, 2015

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN)

Training Location: Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Workshop on Programme Management Training for Health Professionals (Plateau SACA) – 4th to 6th November, 2015

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN)

Training Location: Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Training Programme on Grant and Project Management for Civil Society Organisations in Partnership with the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria – 15th to 19th December, 2015

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) / UNDP

Training Location: Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Training Programme on Grant and Project Management for Civil Society Organisations in Anti-Corruption Sectors – 30th May to 3rd June, 2016

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN) / UNDP

Training Location: Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Programme Management and Leadership Training for Health Care Professionals (APIN Middle-Level Managers) – 15th to 17th June, 2016

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN)

Training Location: Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Programme Management Training for Health Care Professionals (APIN Technical Associates) 28th to 30th June, 2016.

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN)

Training Location: Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Fundamentals of Manuscript Writing Workshop (APIN Research Team) – 11th to 15th July, 2016

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: AIDS Preventive Initiative of Nigeria (APIN)

Training Location: Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Training Programme on Grant and Project Management for Civil Society Organisations in Partnership with the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria – 21st to 23rd July, and 4th to 6th October, 2016

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN)/UNDP

Training Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Corruption Risk Assessment Training of Trainers – 26th to 30th September, 2016

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN)

Training Location: Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Training on Monitoring and Evaluation for ICPC CMED Staff – 6th to 8th June, 2017

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN)

Training Location: Keffi, Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Leading and Managing for Results (Management Team, HAI) – 11th to 13th July, 2017

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Heartland Alliance International (HAI), Nigeria Chapter

Training Location:Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Introduction to Grant Writing and Essentials of Project Management – 28th August to 1st September

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Heartland Alliance International (HAI), Nigeria Chapter

Training Location: Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Management & Leadership Workshop on ‘Site Sustainability and Close-Out Strategic Meeting’ (for CIHP Management Team) – 20th to 22nd, September, 2017

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Centre for Integrated Health Programs (CIHP)

Training Location: Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Management & Leadership Workshop on ‘Site Sustainability and Close-Out Strategic Meeting’ (for CIHP State Team) – 26th to 29nd, September, 2017

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Centre for Integrated Health Programs (CIHP)

Training Location: Akwanga, Nasarawa State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Workshop on Using Reference Managers & ATLAS.ti 8 Windows for Literature Review – 27th to 28th march, 2018

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Academy for Health Development

Training Location: Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

Workshop Title: Thesis/Dissertation Writing Skill-Building Workshop – 28th to 30th November, 2018

Client Organisation/Sponsoring Agency: Academy for Health Development

Training Location: Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria

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Research Implementation

AHEAD serves as a platform for promoting inter-disciplinary research activities capable of improving health. Our research efforts are focused on strengthening the evidence-based facts and findings for effective policy making and programme development. The organisation has a leverage of accomplished researchers and experts with robust track records of attracting grants from a variety of sources, designing and conducting research activities in many states within the country. AHEAD has successfully implemented several health researches that are of significance at national and international level over the last couple of years of her operation. We also assist and provide services for the implementation of health researches to private and public sectors, and disseminate findings so as to make evidence-based facts available to stakeholders. The researches implemented by AHEAD so far include:

The Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA) Framework (Sept 2016, and May 2017)

Name of Client: World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland

Funder: WHO

Overall Project Value: USD 2,500

Project Summary: A framework which was developed by WHO as a global document to provide countries with guidance for developing a coherent national  plan  for  the  health  of  adolescents,  and  to  align  the  contribution  of  relevant stakeholders in planning, implementing, and monitoring a comprehensive response to the health needs of adolescents. The AA-HA Framework was also aimed to support the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. For the development of the AA-HA Framework, WHO, through an open, global competitive bidding, selected AHEAD and 6 other organisations across the world to conduct the formative research that informed the content of the framework, and to field-test the materials for young people at a second phase.         

OVC MER Outcome Monitoring in Nigeria in 6 states across Nigeria (Aug, 2016 – March, 2017)

Name of Client: Measure Evaluation/Palladium

Funders: USAID

Partners: Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development (CRERD), Nigeria.

Overall Project Value: USD 699, 972. 57   

Project Description: The survey measured the outcomes of OVC project funded by CDC/USAID using a standardized methodology that has been developed for application across multiple countries.

National Tuberculosis Quality of Care Study (April 2017 – March 2018)

Name of Client: Measure Evaluation/JSI USA

Funder: USAID

Overall Project Value: 53, 031, 325.00 Naira

Project Description: The project aimed to measure the quality of care of tuberculosis (TB) program in 12 states of Nigeria (2 states per region) and involved 144 facilities (12 facilities each from 12 states) and to provide actionable results for the Nigeria’s national Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer, and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) to develop program or interventions to improve TB service delivery using an innovative mobile-assisted data and dissemination system.

Tuberculosis Knowledge, Attitude and Practice (TBKAP) Follow-up Survey/Nigeria (Nov, 2017 – March 2018)

Name of Client: Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), Abuja, Nigeria

Funder: Global Fund

Overall project Value: 56, 209, 736.00 Naira

Project Description: The project aimed to determine the change in            the level of           knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of people towards Tuberculosis in Nigeria. The survey was implemented in 12 states (two states per geo-political zone of the country). The study involved mixed-method approach, entailing the quantitative survey of over 10,000 respondents (general population, TB patients,  patients  living  with  HIV,  and  health  workers),  focus  group discussion, in-depth interview, and facility record review.

Understanding the use of misoprostol to induce abortion in countries with restrictive abortion laws – Nigeria (Jan, 2018 – )           

Name of Client: Guttmacher Institute, USA

Funder: Guttmacher Institute, USA

Overall Project Value: USD 214, 899   

Project Description: The project aimed to understand current gaps in knowledge on women’s experiences obtaining abortions using Medical Abortion, and providers’ experiences in distributing it in an illegal setting. The project focuses on the two largest states in Nigeria – Lagos in South-west region, and Kano in North-west region

Microbiome Study (May, 2018)

Name of Client: African Research Group of Oncology (ARGO) & Sloan Kettering Institute, USA


Overall Project Value:

Project Description: ARGO in partnership with Sloan Kettering Institute in the United States, and Academy for Health Development being the consultant, carried out a research on Microbiome in Osun State, Nigeria, primarily to identify factors that cause cancer, so as to effect changes that will prevent its viral spread in Nigeria.

Starting Right at School (StaRS), Gendered Socialisation among Very Young Adolescents in Schools and their Sexual Reproductive Health (Aug, 2018 – till date)

Name of Client: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Funder: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Overall Project Value:

Project Description: The Starting Right at School (StaRS) Project is a study aimed at understanding the gender socialization norm among very young adolescents. It is implemented in three different countries. In Nigeria, it is currently being carried out by the Academy for Health Development (AHEAD) in Osun state, Nigeria. The project which is comprised of 3 stages; baseline, intervention and endline phases has just rounded up the baseline phase.

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The A, B, C of Tuberculosis in Nigeria


TB is currently the leading cause of morbidity and mortality from an infectious disease and while a lot of progress has been made in the identification and treatment of tuberculosis, the WHO still estimates that about 4 million cases   of TB were missed in 2017. Improving basic standards of TB care can attract more patients by ensuring that they receive the care that they deserve and     that providers offer better services, improve adherence, diagnosis and treatment, and reduce lost to follow-up rate, ultimately contributing to  reducing the burden of TB disease.

Nigeria ranks as one of the high-burden TB countries in the world and contributed 4% of all TB cases in 2017, ranking her in the 6th position globally in terms of percentage contribution.

Catching them early

Standards set by the International Standards for Tuberculosis Care (ISTC) provide a reference point for assessing provider or system performance and quality of care which help to identify the current and expected levels of quality in health care delivery. The failure of providers or systems to adhere to the defined standards of diagnosis, care and treatment of TB compromises the quality of services provided to the patients.

Understanding the quality of care will enable policy makers and program implementers to strengthen TB care and prevention, by positively influencing timely diagnosis, treatment adherence, and treatment completion in Nigeria. This brief presents findings from an examination of the adherence of TB services in Nigeria to the international and national standards guidelines to ensure that TB services are delivered in an accessible, timely, safe, effective, efficient and equitable manner.

Quality of Care; Where? How… And then?

Quality of care can be said to consist of three key elements, namely: structure of the resources available at a health facility; process or the interaction between providers and patients; and outcomes or the consequences of care.

In a recent study carried out by the Academy for Health Development (AHEAD) Nigeria, supported by the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program and Challenge TB project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), Quality of Care of Tuberculosis was assessed in a total of 144 facilities across 12 states in a bid to understand how care is accessed and received, uncover loopholes and opportunities in the care delivery system and make recommendations for improving the overall access, delivery and outcomes of care and treatment for tuberculosis.

Structure (Where)

Structure includes all of the factors that affect the context or enabling environment in which care is delivered. This includes the physical facility, equipment and human resources as well as organizational characteristics such as staff training and supervision. We measured structure through  the availability of services, infrastructure, capacity of TB providers, and management of TB services.

TB drug supply

The NTBLCP continues to address challenges to the maintenance of an uninterrupted supply of anti-TB drugs by working to improve stock status at the state and LGA levels, train staff on proper anti-TB drug stock management, and advocate at the Federal and State Ministries of Health to improve and expand storage conditions for anti-TB drugs at all levels. TB drug monitoring mechanisms are in place at different levels to ensure an uninterrupted supply of quality-assured anti-TB drugs, which will help prevent the emergence of drug-resistant TB.

Trained TB Care Providers

Staff training is essential for keeping health workers updated with knowledge, skills, and technical competence to maintain high quality or improve the quality of TB care services. This study assessed whether TB providers received any formal or structured in-service training related to the services they offer in the 24 months preceding the survey.  The findings from the facility audit/checklist (with the health facility unit in-charges as respondents) indicate that a majority of staff (73%) received in-service or training updates on TB care and treatment in the last 24 months.

Process (How)

Process is the sum of the interaction between service providers and patients during which structural inputs from the health care system are transformed into health outcomes. Findings presented measured process through the level of TB awareness among TB patients, patient-provider interaction and communication, barriers to TB care and access to follow-up care.

The most common barrier to accessing TB care mentioned by patients is the distance to the facility providing TB diagnosis and treatment (22%). Lack of adherence   to   a   patient’s   treatment   plan   for   TB   can   lead   to   prolonged infectivity, drug resistance and poor treatment outcomes.

Access to follow-up care through Directly Observed Treatment (DOT) seeks to improve adherence to TB treatment by observing patients while they take their anti-TB medication. This study shows that approximately 40% of patients did not have access to DOT.

Patients on treatment who were observed taking their TB medication by a health care provider (DOT)

Outcome (And then)

Outcome in the context of our conceptual framework refers to the effects of health care on patients, including changes in their health status.

Treatment outcome is defined based on the 2013 WHO definitions that have two broad classifications namely; treatment success and unsuccessful treatment  outcomes. In addition, the two classifications are sub-divided into 6 distinct outcomes, namely; cured, treatment completed, died, treatment failure, loss to follow-up, and not evaluated.   The addition of “cured” and “treatment completed’ is defined as treatment success. Patients with PTB with bacteriologically confirmed TB at the beginning of the treatment who had proven negative microbiological results upon completing treatment are defined as cured. Treatment completed is used  for the patients with no evidence of clinical failure, but without the record to show negative microbiological results after taking anti-TB drugs for the prescribed length of time, either because tests were not performed or because no biological material was available (e.g., patient without sputum production). Patients with treatment outcome such as treatment failure, death, loss-to-follow-up and not evaluated are classified as unsuccessful. A patient that failed to appear in the health facility for more than 2 consecutive months after the scheduled appointment is referred to as  lost to follow-up.  If a patient dies for any reason during the treatment, the outcome  is classified as died.

For patients that move to another health clinic regardless of the cause, the outcome is defined as transferred. Patients transferred out are excluded from the analysis because of the challenges of determining the outcome based on the WHO definition. Outcomes are classified as treatment failure if a patient has positive sputum smears throughout the treatment period or at the end of treatment (even if the patient initially converted from positive to negative). Patients without treatment outcomes are classified as not evaluated either because the tests were not performed or have not completed the treatment.



A key policy outlined in this study is the need to improve the factors highlighted that affect the quality of care. Availability of proper equipment and an increase in service providers for tuberculosis will be effective in addressing the needs of the number of identified patients and enable better detection and identification  of  otherwise  missing cases. This recommendation can be achieved through the following ways:

  • Collaboration with private health organizations at the state and local government levels for more primary facilities to be set up in the rural areas with emphasis placed on  reduction  of  patients’  commute  time  and  increment  of  health  service providers at

The study showed that only 14% of facilities had been implementing risk assessment for TB infection, prevention, and control annually. This statistic can be improved by including in the supervision carried out by the LGTBLS, the assessment of the availability of other important documents such as up-to-date  TB policies and guidelines.

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Adolescent Health and Wellbeing: A Key to a Better Future

Adolescence is a transitional period between the childhood and adulthood, it is a period of physical, biological and mental change. As knowledge has accumulated about human development during puberty and beyond, and about the development of the brain in particular, it has become clear that the notion of adolescence as a stage of sexual maturation is far too simple. Many interlinks changes and processes influence adolescent behavior, as well as the way young adults think and make decisions. Understanding these changes and their dynamic extension into early adult life which offers not only an opportunity for new approach to minimizing risks to health and wellbeing but also a moment to engage adolescents for their future adult life and even for the future generations.

There are about 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10-19 years in the world today, 89% of whom live in developing countries. Adolescence is a crucial life stage during which individuals must have the opportunity to develop the capabilities required for realizing their full potential and achieving a prosperous, healthy life.

Transitions from adolescence to adulthood require investments in health information, services provided and tailored to adolescent needs, quality education, vocational training, and healthy lifestyle which needs to be done at every level of stakeholders: the adolescent, the parents, community and the governments.  Especially for the adolescent girls, it is important to put in place targeted interventions to address issues that prevent the realization of their full potential; for example child marriage, violence and abuse, teenage pregnancy, abortion and so on.

To work effectively for and with the adolescents, it is essential that we engage with stakeholders across the health, education, governance and others ensuring that the marginalized have access to the opportunity. Adolescents can be a key driving force in building a future of dignity for all if we start today.

Credit: Temidayo Adewumi

Institute of Child Health, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

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“Why Weight Matters”: An Exclusive Tweet Chat with Dr. Olaitan Oyedun

Moderator: Dr Olaitan Oyedun is a Public Health Physician and currently Chief Resident at the Department of Community Health, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals’ Complex. He works to get people healthy and help them stay that way!

Weight issues are a spectrum from being too little to being excessive. Today’s conversation will focus on excessive weight, however, all questions on ‘why weight matters’ are welcome. The conversation begins

We are glad to have you on this platform Sir, thank you for honouring our invite, we do hope it will be a very interactive session

Dr. O: Thank you

Moderator: To start with Sir, from a health standpoint, why does body weight matter?

Dr. O: A lot of health issues are linked to your body weight, mostly not good news. Contrary to the popularly held belief that excessive weight gain or being “fat” is a sign of good living or affluence, it causes far-reaching damage to the body, especially the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, responsible for maintaining blood flow around the body.

Moderator: Thank you. What factors are responsible for excessive weight gain?

Dr. O: Let’s take this from the top. To function normally, our body needs energy, which we take in as food. Usually, when we take more food than the body needs, immediately the body converts the excess food (energy) into a long-term storage form which is fat, which then accumulates in the body over time (just like depositing money in the bank without ever making a withdrawal except that this is bad money!) When this accumulation of fat becomes excessive, it becomes a medical condition called Obesity. In technical terms, the resultant effect of an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure results in excessive weight gain.

Moderator: But some people just don’t seem to gain weight no matter what and some just can’t seem to control it. Why is this so?

Dr. O: I guess your question is whether weight gain is a function of nature or nurture? The straight-up answer is yes, it is a bit of both. While some people do have a higher genetic potential for weight gain than others, nurture, which is largely our lifestyle, including the food we eat and our exercise habits, plays a very big role in determining whether we gain excessive weight or not.

Moderator: Thank you so much for the enlightening discussion so far. What kind of effects does this excessive weight gain have on health, Sir?

Dr. O: There are psychological and physical health effects. The psychological health effects include low self-esteem, poor self-image and stigmatization. This can be quite a serious social problem, especially for adolescents with excessive teasing and body shaming from peers and nicknames like “fattybumbum” or “fatso”. Being the butt end of such jokes can result in grave consequences including suicide and just like any medical condition, obese persons deserve empathy and support in order to make healthier life choices. Physical effects include breathing problems, musculoskeletal issues like pain at the joints and problems with mobility (Osteoarthritis), Importantly, obesity can become a catalyst for other serious health problems like raised blood pressure, stroke, Diabetes mellitus and have has been linked to cancers of the throat, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, bowels, breast and many other organs.

Moderator: How do you know if you are obese? How do you measure obesity?

Dr. O: There are many available ways to check but a very easy one to calculate is the body mass index known as BMI. This just talks about your weight relative to your height. You can calculate this by getting a weighing scale and checking your weight in Kilograms and dividing this by the square of your height in meters. If you get a figure from 25 and above, you are already considered overweight, and a figure 30 and above means you are already in one of the obese categories. If in doubt, consult a doctor.

Moderator: Sir, what can be done to prevent excessive weight gain?

Dr. O: Good question. The most important prevention is a change in behaviour and lifestyle. The journey towards a healthier lifestyle and improved self-image can be quite fun and immensely rewarding. Diet and exercise is a double defence against obesity. It is best to only, always, eat just what you need and not more and to avoid foods that contain a lot of fats and oil, (what we really want to avoid are saturated fats found in animal fats and poultry skin). In fact, it’s best to just avoid fast food and oily snacks. A great alternative is to take more fruits and veggies, (most of which are good for you anyway) and encourage young people to pick-up these good habits early. On exercising, a lot of young people and adults spend a considerable amount of time, sitting down all day, at work, at home, at school and even at leisure, in front of computers, in front of TVs reading for this and that. This is not good for their health. Less TV and more activity are very useful, take a walk, jog with friends, cycle, pick up an active sport find an outdoor hobby like gardening; take the stairs, park far from doors, if you can walk there, don’t drive! Moderate to vigorous physical activities, that raise your heart rate and breathing from a little bit to a lot, is very beneficial.

Moderator: For those who are already obese or overweight, what can be done to shed the weight Sir?

Dr. O: If very troubling, a physician should be consulted for medical or surgical treatment. If not so, a disciplined approach to the selecting the kind of foods we eat and getting active just like the tips the prevention earlier shared will work fine. Remember, the journey to a healthier lifestyle can and should be fun!

Moderator: Thank you so much for the enlightening discussion, Sir. Now we would like to take questions from our audience.

Question 1: Great discussion! Thanks Doc. I’d like to ask… when someone engages in physical exercises to shed weight, and stops, is it true that the person will gain more weight at a faster rate than before?

Dr. O: Lol, this is not true. However, it is easy to lose the gains of an effective exercise regimen if not maintained through a healthy diet and regular exercise. Proper diet and routine exercise are a double defence against obesity. You just have to keep at it!

Question 2: Self-image is an important issue for adolescents, how can we pragmatically work with obese adolescents to lead healthy lifestyle?

Dr. O: Excellent question. As mentioned during the conversation, adolescents are a very important group of people who are most affected by the psychological consequences of excessive weight gain. The good news is that, many are also quite energetic and willing to learn new positive behaviours towards achieving an improved self-image. As exercise and diet are an excellent dual pronged approach to controlling body weight a very practical approach includes finding a partner or partners willing to support an exercise schedule and diet plan. Having support helps a lot, especially for adolescents. An aerobics class can be quite fun and rewarding too. Other activities like cycling, jogging, and group sports can help a lot too. If the self-image is already badly damaged, seeking professional counselling is important for adolescents. A caveat though, starvation is not dieting! The body always needs basic nutrients to function.

Question 3: I once heard that it is necessary to go to the hospital to check the state of one’s heart before deciding on what form of exercise to embark on. Sir, is this necessary?

Dr. O: Moderate to vigorous physical activity, which puts your heart to more work than light physical activity, is actually more useful from a health point of view. Normally, most people can perform these activities without any worries for a limited time, longer for athletes, but there are health conditions including heart diseases that may limit the duration or intensity of exercise activity for those who have some of these medical conditions, If you suspect you have a limitation, or get tired easily after just a little exertion, see a Doctor for an assessment.

Moderator: We want to thank our Guest, Dr Olaitan Oyedun for the enlightening discussion on “Why Weight Matters” and also a big thank you to everyone for joining the conversation.

This conversation can be found on Twitter using the following hashtags #AHEADHealthTalk #whyweightmatters #weightmatters

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