Educating women on obesity and health


Words: Leap Communications

More SA women than men are overweight, highlighting the need to educate women to make better nutrition and lifestyle choices this women’s month, says top nutritional consultant Vanessa Ascencao.

Ascencao says a study by the Medical Research Council found that 56% of women are overweight compared to 29% of SA men, while a study published in the medical journal, Lancet, showed that 69% of females display unhealthy levels of body fat and more than four in 10 are clinically obese.


In addition, women face the risk of developing osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Cervical cancer affects one in 41 SA women while breast cancer affects one in 33. Heart disease affects one in four women in SA.


Ascencao says women should commit to making health a higher priority during women’s month (August). She recommends following an eating plan which eliminates unhealthy fats, sugar, salt and processed foods and which is high in natural, whole foods and lean, organic protein. Women should exercise daily and make a point this month of checking their cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure levels, said Ascencao.


Ascencao suggests these additional tips for women:


  • Manage stress: unchecked stress may contribute to infertility, depression, anxiety, heart disease and strokes. Ascencao recommends Bach Rescue Remedy to help relax.
  • Don’t diet, change your eating habits: eat a healthy mix of good quality proteins, healthy fats, carbohydrates and fibre. Eat nutrient-rich dark green vegetables such as kale, broccoli and asparagus which are packed with vitamins A & C and with fibre.
  • Eat fresh fruit, especially berries which are loaded with vitamin C and are a great to fight disease and infection.
  • Consume food in moderation.
  • Get active: exercise improves mental health and helps keep heart disease at bay.
  • Increase iron intake: choose iron-rich foods such as meat, beans and shellfish. Due to menstrual cycles it is important to increase iron intake to avoid anaemia.
  • Increase omega-3 fatty acids: these are natural anti-inflammatory substances which help keep the heart healthy. They include fatty fish (salmon & tuna), avocados and nuts.
  • Supplement with nature-based multi-nutrient Marcus Rohrer Spirulina ( Spirulina helps boost immunity and energy, promotes optimal gastrointestinal flora and digestion, helps control blood sugar levels, promotes heart health and assists in suppressing inflammation and hunger. Read more here and here.


Marcus Rohrer Spirulina is available at most Clicks, Dis-Chem and major pharmacies.