The wellness programme is a response to the rapidly emerging epidemic of non-communicable disease, which is affecting not only the UN community but the world at large. The program utilizes health education and health promotion strategies to achieve the goals. The health and nutrition component during this period is conducted under the slogan ‘healthy U’. It involves a number of activities and collaboration between Joint Medical Service and Caterers on one hand and JMS and Recreation Centre on the other. There is a notable increase in lifestyle disease like high cholesterol and blood sugar. Staff members are given personalized written and oral advice to be implemented and advised on necessary lifestyle change. There is a concern that in the long run the organization will suffer the cost of an unhealthy work force.
Healthy U day activities
This is a health awareness day where the focus is on your nutrition and your health. There is a health awareness talk. The focus of the message is on healthy lifestyle with emphasis on healthy eating. Discussions on healthy choices with regards to sugar and cholesterol. Vitamins and vegetables. Fibre. Oils and fats, saturated and polyunsaturated oils as well as trans-fats. The public health talks emphasize on importance of physical activity. Distribution of health messages in form of posters and pictures display in the compound and as e-posters on the electronic bulletin board. There is a self assessment by questionnaire addressing current knowledge and practice which also primes the participant to the thrust of the message for the day. The results of this assessment is analyzed and feedback given enabling a self reflection and immediate recognition of personal action areas. There is a health assessment that includes biophysical measurement of waist circumference, body frame, weight, height, BMI, body fat percent and analysis of these as a health index to inform the health advice personalized to the individual. The record is given to the client as a takeaway to help him/ her with follow-up monitoring at the next visit to own doctor or JMS.
Feedback received from participants point to a timely intervention with many reverting that they have learnt a lot during these sessions and have implemented significant behaviour change as a result.
JMS working with UN Recreation Centre to promote increased physical activity
A joint pilot project with the recreation center where staff that fit a high risk category are offered a comprehensive life style intervention with the staff counselor, nutritionist, doctor and physical activity all monitored. We appreciate the fact that staff members in Gigiri have bountiful resources for keeping physically active. The recreation centre offers gym, sauna and steam and other sporting facilities including swimming pool, volleyball, basketball, squash, lawn tennis, table tennis, football and athletics. There are already several clubs including jogging clubs, aerobics club and others. Also offered are personalized training programmes. The heart is the most efficient pump, size of your fist and its efficiency depends on your lifestyle. The more active you are the better its performance. A combination of a good diet , high in fiber and exercise will ensure your heart gives you a better service into your old age.
The lunch hour walking club targets staff members who are not available for one reason or other to join any of the other activities at Recreation Center. It provides a convenient opportunity to get away during lunch break for some light physical work out. This club is becoming increasingly popular and we encourage staff members to join.
Walking is a low-impact exercise with numerous health benefits. Here's how to get started. Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. Walking is one of your body's most natural forms of exercise. It's safe, simple, doesn't require practice, and the health benefits are many. Here's more about why walking is good for you, and how to get started with a walking program. Three times a week of half an hour to an hour’s brisk walk, will give you enough exercise to keep your heart and body healthy. This will also ensure you keep the doctors at bay.
Benefits of Walking
Walking, like other exercise, can help you achieve a number of important health benefits. Walking can help you:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit.
Fit for Free Friday
Every friday at 2:00 PM all staff are welcome to join exercise activity at the UN compound Gigiri. Staff assemble at the main lobby for a warm up lead by staff from recreation center. Thereafter, members walk, jog or run as they please (laps around the scenic UN Gigiri compound).
For more information please contact the JMS Webmaster.
TIPS FOR STAYING MOTIVATED TO WALK
One of the best ways to stay motivated to walk is to include other people. Ask friends and coworkers to join you.
- Join a walking group or club.
- Buy a pedometer at a sporting goods store. Wear it every day and count your steps. The first time you wear it, count how many steps you normally take in a day. Set a goal for increasing it each day or week. Try to start with an increase of 2,000 steps a day and work toward 10,000. Get others to join you and set goals as a group.
- Walk before or after work or on your lunch break. Instead of taking a snack or coffee break, take a walk break.
- Schedule walks on your business calendar. Turn a walk into a brainstorming session with a coworker.
- Wear comfortable shoes and socks that cushion your feet.
- Drink plenty of water. Take a bottle with you when you walk.
- Plan family outings around walks together.
- Take your dog on a walk.
- Set a goal to participate in an organized fitness walk.
Click here to see more benefits of walking (Acute Coronary Syndrome Risk Lowered With 7500 Steps a Day)
JMS Collaborating with restaurants within UN compounds for a healthier U
JMS has entered into a collaborative arrangement with caterers Caz Creole, Café Royale and Savanah restaurant, all located within the Gigiri campus. This arrangement enables an independent nutritionist contractor to assess the availability of healthy options on the menu. There is the concern that many patrons may be oblivious of the health implications of what they choose to eat. Most restaurants routinely have large amount of fried foods, use of low quality fats and oils with concomitant high cholesterol in the foods and the excessive use of salt and sugar. JMS collaboration with the caterers addresses these concerns mainly. As a result of this joint initiative, a number of caterers continue to adopt and implement key recommendations :
- Clearly indicate/ record in the menu how the food is made. I.e. Is the food fried, grilled and roasted? They should be honest about it.
- Salad should be served with dressings on the side
- Sweeteners should be provided for people who do not wish to take sugar.
- Juices should also be served with syrup on the side for people to make a choice.
- Rich natural / whole meal foods should be introduced e.g. brown rice, sweet potatoes, arrowroot, and other naturally high fibre meals.
- Restaurants should serve more fruits and they should not be priced exorbitantly.
- They should pay attention to the needs of people with diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and other medical conditions requiring nutrition intervention.
- Restaurants should keep a register for complaints and recommendations, popular meals and populations coming to the restaurant. This data can be used to improve in the menu in the future.
- They should not use free flowing salt for table use; this is high in sodium and not recommended especially for people with diabetes.
- Finally yet importantly, they must honest in their dealings, i.e. type of fat used, preparation of food and they should use fresh oil regularly.”
How can I identify a healthy choice on the menu?
It is not enough for a restaurant to provide a whole range of healthy options if customers are not going to ask for them. How do I know which food is healthy? They all look sumptuous and must be of good quality. We have tried to answer this question in a simple way and hope that next time you are patronizing a restaurant, you will not be undecided.
You will notice health symbols strategically placed to identify the healthy choices. A red heart placed against a menu item represents low cholesterol food and friendly therefore to the heart. A green leaf placed next to the food represents highly nutritious foods like assorted vegetables, high fibre foods, non-refined items etc.
In terms of food portions, it is clear that caloric content is key factor particularly when weight management becomes an issue of concern. The plate method of portion size is recommended whereby half the plate should ideally be vegetables, quarter starch and quarter protein. The symbols are assigned daily by an independent nutritionist. We only assign symbols to healthy menu item by a simple standard of content and mode of preparation. If we don’t know how it is prepared we do not assign a symbol. If we feel it does not meet the standard for a healthy option we do not assign a symbol.