Former First Lady and President of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM), Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, has called on Ghanaians to embrace a healthy lifestyle by exercising, eating balanced diets and drinking in moderation.
Nana Konadu also counseled against poor sexual habits and smoking, saying such negative habits affected the life expectancy of Ghanaians.
She made the statement at the opening of a workshop on Regenerative Health at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), on Thursday in Accra aimed at training health agents to embark on a mass education programme through various mediums.
The two-day workshop under theme: “Living right: a must for long life,” is being organised by the External Affairs Commission of the Students Representative Council of GIJ in conjunction with the Ministry of Health.
The former First Lady said: “A healthy lifestyle requires commitment first from the individual and the entire community and stressed the need to appreciate the fact that most illnesses are a direct result of our inability to look after our bodies.”
She said Ghanaians have over the past few decades allowed the allure of foreign culture to affect many of their habits to the detriment of their health and longevity.
Nana Konadu said unfortunately very little had been done by the various social units of family, community, and opinion leaders such as chiefs, religious leaders or government to stem the unfortunate tide of our social habits.
She explained that what this meant was that life expectancy in the country is so low compared to the Western world where we imported most of our negative habits such as unbalanced diets, junk food, smoking and drinking.
Nana Konadu said the United Nations revealed that life expectancy for Ghana averages 60 years and that of Swaziland lies at the bottom of the table at 32 years.
She noted that Ghana looks good compared to Swaziland but on top of the league table were the likes of Japan and Hong Kong at 82.6 and 82.6 respectively. United Kingdom is 79.4 and the United States, 78.3. That means we have a long way to go.
“One of the reasons for the low life expectancy in Swaziland and South Africa is because of the high prevalence of AIDS” she noted.
Nana Konadu said many were dying quietly and inexplicably on a daily basis and urged all to check their desires and live responsibly sexually.
The former first lady said technological advancement in health delivery played a significant role in life expectancy in developed countries, and research indicates that longer life was linked more to a healthy lifestyle than the mere availability of good quality health care.
She said that was why a lot of our compatriots, who live abroad, still die relatively young because they failed to adopt the healthier habits of their host countries.
She said a major lifestyle habit that should be institutionalized was exercise, since the availability of vehicular and other mode of transport, meant many did not get the opportunity to do even a 50-metre walk a day.