Rising obesity and overweight mostly attributed to globalization have reached epidemic proportions globally. In Rwanda, especially in Kigali, obesity is becoming one of the most blatantly visible health issues.
In partnership with Access Bank Rwanda, Slim ‘n Fit, a weight loss and wellness center introduced a 90-day weight loss challenge where women and girls are encouraged to achieve their weight goals in a simple, supportive, structured and most importantly, enjoyable way. The center provides monthly weight assessment and advice about healthy diets as well as physical activity.
For the second season of the weight loss challenge which started in October 2019 with 40 participants, they were encouraged to lose weight through intensive exercise and healthy food dubbed ‘Magic plate’. The center monitored participants’ results using various equipment such as the Omron composition monitor. The Omron composition monitor, calculates the Body Mass Index (BMI), and estimates body fat percentage by the Bioelectrical Impedance (BI) Method.
The winner of the challenge takes home a Rwf 100,000 check from Access Bank Rwanda. Uwiragiye Doris was the second season’s biggest weight loser and lost 15.9 kgs in 90 days followed by Ngutete Auxile who lost 13.5 kgs.
Ms. Uwamwezi Florence the Chairperson and founder of Slim n’ Fit says the program allows to prevent and treat weight gain and metabolic disorders in a supportive environment for women and girls. “I have been on a weight loss challenge for the past two years myself and managed to lose up to 20 kilograms. Through hard work, consistency and persistence, it is possible to lead healthier lives and prevent noncommunicable diseases.
Non-communicable diseases are ailments that are not transmissible from person to person. They include; cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, disabilities, mental and neurological conditions.
Olanma John Agbaje, Access Bank Rwanda Chief Operating Officer says that the partnership with Slim ‘n Fit represents the Bank’s unique commitment to supporting women with opportunities to enhance their lifestyle. “In addition to the bundle of banking products we provide, we also avail opportunities tailored to the lifestyle needs of our female customers.”
Access Bank Rwanda has recently introduced the ‘W’ initiative with banking products and services for women such as savings account, salary advance, debit cards. Through the ‘W’ initiative, women have access to great discounts, loan offers, career development workshops and a variety of services to help them manage their financial needs.
Last but not least, Access Bank Rwanda introduced the Maternal Health Scheme (MHS) which allows couples to overcome health challenges through financial arrangements and offers such as medical advice, delivery services, weight control treatments, hysterectomy and myomectomy.
Dr Joseph Mucumbitsi, Chief Consultant Pediatrician & Cardiologist at King Faisal Hospital describes overweight and obesity as a modern-day health epidemic. “community efforts should focus on supporting healthy eating and active living. Slim ‘n Fit provides a platform to learn about the seriousness of obesity and how to help your family establish healthy behaviors and that itself is an incredible step towards winning the fight against obesity.”
Dr Mucumbitsi emphasizes that for men and children too, obesity poses a major threat for serious diet-related noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. “It is important to convey the knowledge you acquire from Slim ‘n Fit to your husbands and children as well. We need to build a community free from noncommunicable diseases and the effort starts with you. Exercise and a healthy diet should not just be a 90-day challenge but a culture.”
Through the ninety-day weight loss challenge, Access Bank Rwanda focuses on ensuring that communities affected by non-communicable diseases are at the center of the health system response. This initiative is in line with Kigali City Council Car Free Day that was initiated to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent non communicable diseases. During this bi-monthly sport activity, free medical check-ups are offered to the public.