UNICEF club champions obesity and mental health awareness

The UNICEF club at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Mahikeng Campus has taken proactive steps to address pressing health issues by hosting a programme focused on combatting obesity and promoting mental health awareness among students.

UNICEF stands for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, now officially the United Nations Children's Fund. This agency of the United Nations provides humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.

A UNICEF club is a student-led grassroots club formed at high school and college level to promote the values of the parent organisation.

The club on the Mahikeng Campus held its event on 13 March, with the theme "Let’s talk about obesity and mental health”.

In response to reports of high obesity rates among women and children in South Africa, volunteers of the UNICEF campus club organised the initiative to advocate for healthier lifestyles. Lerato Wana, a campus psychologist from Student Counselling and Development, was the keynote speaker at the event.

"We recognise the importance of addressing both physical and mental aspects of health. Understanding the relationship between dietary habits and psychological well-being is crucial for promoting overall wellness," said Lerato.

The event also emphasised the significance of physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, with NWU Mascot Eagi leading an energetic aerobics session.

The UNICEF club underscored the need for collaborative efforts to tackle these prevalent concerns.

"With projections indicating a significant rise in childhood obesity by 2035, we must take proactive measures," said Lebohang Bodigelo, a representative of the club. "The health implications associated with obesity, including chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, necessitate comprehensive awareness initiatives."

The complex interplay between mental health and obesity was a focal point of the discussion during which the bidirectional nature of their influence was highlighted. Volunteers and students engaged in dialogue aimed at demystifying the concept of obesity.

Lebohang Bodigelo, a representative of the UNICEF club at the NWU’s Mahikeng Campus, addresses the audience.

Submitted on Mon, 03/25/2024 - 13:49