Eight years old, Eric Ishimwe weighed 40 kg five months ago when his grandmother decided to look for professionals to help him have a normal weight for his age.
Mukamana, Ishimwe’s grandmother who is a nurse, says that she first tried to help her grandson lose weight, but nothing changed.
“We cut out all kinds of fats from her diet, but nothing changed, that’s why we decided to look for a professional nutritionist to help us,” she says.
One week after receiving expert advice, Ishimwe lost 3 kg and his BMI is now well balanced.
Obesity is becoming a serious problem in modern times, mainly due to bad lifestyle habits.
Anastasie Mukakayumba, a nutritionist at Santé Plus in Ziniya, Kicukiro district, says that in developed countries, obesity is considered “like a disease” and is prevented and treated like any other disease, unlike certain parts of Africa, where Take the fat as a sign of a good life
Mukakayumba says that few know that getting fat can be a problem; with the majority thinking that they can handle their weight by themselves without professional assistance.
“Some people who want to lose weight follow the instructions on the Internet, which in most cases are not accurate, others use advice from their friends Few consider professional advice when trying to lose weight healthily,” he says.
Health experts say that fasting, exercising, excluding certain foods from the diet and using drugs are some of the ways that people can use to lose weight.
Mukakayumba says that sometimes these tips can work and help people lose weight, but when they are not strictly met, one immediately regains weight or have health problems.
“Normally, people should eat a balanced diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, if someone excludes one of these types of nutrients from their plate, even when they lose weight, they are not healthy.
“When we help someone lose weight, we first need to know what is the reason behind the weight gain, there are different reasons that make people fat or obese,” she explains.
Reasons why people get fat
Mukakayumba says that people gain weight and become obese due to several factors, the reason why everyone should receive individual help.
Failure to control food, hormones, drugs, stress, sedentary lifestyle and socioeconomic changes are the main reason for weight gain and obesity, he says.
“When someone wants to lose weight, they should focus on the treatment of the specific cause.” If they lose weight and the cause remains intact, that’s why after a short time they recover it, “says Mukakayumba.
Immaculée Umutoni, a nutritionist, says that when someone reaches the stage of obesity, they eventually get sick and should seek medical help.
Doctors who meet regularly with these people should work better with nutritionists for treatment, she says.
“Across the country, from health centres to district hospitals, we have nutritionists, and there are others who work in private, it’s time for people to change their thinking about excess weight and realize how dangerous it is is, “he says.
What to take into consideration
Umutoni says that the blood group is the first thing to consider when helping someone lose weight.
Religion, food preferences, access to food and financial means are other factors to consider when helping someone fight obesity, she says.
“We are all unique, which is why we do not treat our patients in general,” the doctor said, “suggestions that may work for one person do not necessarily work for someone with the same sex and age.”
When prescribing a diet to help someone lose weight, nutritionists take into consideration the foods they like, their religions, their economic means, their accessibility and their allergic properties, among others.
“We do not want to help someone lose weight and cause another health problem – people should have a balanced body mass index (BMI),” he says.
BMI is a number based on its weight and height. In general, the greater the number, the more body fat a person has.
BMI is used to openly define different weight groups in adults 20yrs of age or older. The same groups apply to both women and men.
If your BMI is less than 18.5, then you are underweight. When someone has a normal weight, their BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Someone is overweight when their BMI is between 25 and 29.9, while 30 and over is considered obesity.