Fitness expert here to work with parliament

By James Bakama

Professor Wojitek J. Chadzko-Zajko is in the country for the Tuesday to Saturday sessions that will also have him meet other opinion leaders.

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One of the world's top wellness experts will this week engage Uganda's parliament in fitness sessions aimed at boosting the legislators' health.
Professor Wojitek J. Chadzko-Zajko is in the country for the Tuesday to Saturday sessions that will also have him meet other opinion leaders.
Wojitek has served as a consultant for several governments in developing strategies for promoting physical activity.
He is a Dean of the Graduate College and a Shields and Ann Carlson Khan Professor in Applied Health Science at the University of Illinois.
He is here on an invitation of fitness expert Robert Ssebugwawo who has a wellness program with the lawmakers. It started with the establishment of a parliamentary gym in 2012.
The lawmakers like many of Uganda's elite have not been spared by the killer diseases that result from physical inactivity and sedentary living.
"I am helping Robert develop a physical activity focused chronic disease prevention program," wrote Wojitek.
The fitness gurus note that growing chronic diseases and disability rates lead to increased health and social care costs.
"Many of these conditions are modifiable or preventable through evidence-based lifestyle interventions that focus on prevention and risk reduction."
Wojitek notes that one of the simplest but powerful and effective interventions that have proved to impact on chronic diseases is regular exercise.

 Robert Sebugwawo takes members of the judiciary through a fitness session. Courtesy photos

"There is proof that regular physical activity can bring dramatic health benefits to people of all ages and abilities and that this benefit extends over one's entire life."
Wojitek notes that he has learned that few adults in Uganda are engaged in regular physical activity.
"There is a need for a systematic strategy to increase physical activity levels of older adults in Uganda."
He notes that a case can be made for supporting the development and implementation of lifestyle programs.
These would emphasise overall wellness and quality of life, such as healthy eating, physical health, cognitive health, emotional wellbeing, financial security, social integration, and spiritual wellbeing.
"As a result of my several conversations with Ssebugwawo I firmly believe that there is a need for a multi-sectoral coalition for, and jointly important, principles and practices of healthy living."
This, Wojitek insists, should be an individual, family, community and national level.
Thus the involvement of a wide variety of stakeholders including NGOs, members of the public, professional organisations, academics, health, and social care professional.
Ssebugwawo has through his company, Bob Fitness, championed this campaign.
He has had engagements with several organisations the latest being the Judiciary and the Education and Sports Ministry.