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Monday, September 16, 2019

OBESITY – REALITY OF THE AMERICAN DREAM?


Obesity in America: photo credit - Mark Lennihan

Obesity in America: photo credit - Mark Lennihan


One of the paradoxes of modern global capitalism is that more than 800 million people in the world do not have enough food, while about 700 million people, including 100 million children, are obese. 



These two numbers are not necessarily directly related, however, a significant proportion of the world's starving people live in states torn apart by internal conflicts or lacking normal working governments.

Obesity is a condition characterized by an abnormal accumulation of fat in the body in the form of adipose tissue. It is the result of excessive nutrition combined with a very limited physical activity, to which genetic factors are also added. 

This serious health problem occurs when over time, the body absorbs more calories than it burns. Obesity and overweight increase the risk of contracting diabetes, developing cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, gallstones, hypercholesterolemia, respiratory diseases, osteoarthritis, gout, and cancer.

An uncontrolled, rapid increase in obesity can slow down or even reverse the process of a significant improvement in health and life expectancy, which has been observed in many countries for several decades. 

A report released raises the alarm about rising levels of acute hunger. About 124 million people in 51 countries were affected by severe food insecurity in 2017 - 11 million more than in the previous year. This is reported by the new edition of the Global Report on Food Crises.

The report defines acute food insecurity as a level of hunger so severe that it represents a direct threat to people's lives or livelihoods. The worsening of the situation is largely attributable to the outbreak or escalation of conflicts and instability in countries such as Myanmar, north-eastern Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, and Yemen. 

Prolonged drought conditions have instead caused a succession of poor harvests in countries already affected by high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in eastern and southern Africa.

Conflicts and climate change remain the main factors behind serious food insecurity in 18 countries - 15 of them in Africa and the Middle East. Conflicts are the main cause of most cases of acute food insecurity in the world, representing 60 percent of the total, 74 million people.

 At the same time, the obesity epidemic has hit a much wider range of countries, both developed and most developing. Although there is a certain association between obesity and poverty within countries.

 However, it should be noted that the level of obesity in wealthy countries such as the United States, Britain, and Canada is one of the highest in the world. 

According to recent shocking estimates by the US Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of all Americans are obese, with obesity being defined as a body mass index of 30 or higher. 

This number includes 20.6% of all American teenagers, from12  to 19 years old. According to the CDC, the average weight of an American woman today is higher than the average weight of an American man in 1960 (166 pounds, or 75 kg).

While many are hungry or dying of hunger, many wealthy countries are destroying themselves with food. 

Inequality in relation to overweight and obesity is especially pronounced among women, especially, those with a low level of education are obese two to three times more often than highly educated women.

Preventing Obesity: Here are some useful tips for a correct and varied food style.

Preventing obesity and being overweight is possible, starting with a healthy and balanced diet. It is necessary to limit sugars and fats thus, avoiding as much as possible quick foods and sugary or sweet drinks.

Increase consumption of vegetables, legumes, and whole grains and limit excessive alcohol consumption to a glass of wine per meal. 

The need to do exercise helps to a correct diet. There is no need to do a marathon a week: 30 minutes a day of brisk walking, cycling, and aerobic activity are all you need to stay healthy and keep your weight under control.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

THE BIGGEST CURSE MAN HAS PRONOUNCED ON HIMSELF IS GREED


Greed quotes




Greed is an overly aggressive desire of a person to get as many as possible all kinds of benefits, both tangible and intangible. It can be about money, food, pleasures, power, information, attention and so on.  


That selfish or excessive desire to take possession of everything alone exists everywhere, including, homes, working places, and the political arena.


People who are greedy for money, as a rule, are spiritually weak and insecure, since greed, is predominantly stupid and, therefore, cowardly people rowing everything for themselves because of self-doubt in the future. All that a person wants is to have unlimited quantities without thinking of others.

The stories covering greed, its disgracefulness, and embarrassments, continue to make headlines around the globe, including Africa. Instead of highlighting on greedy and corruptible cases which have taken place in Africa or Ghana, I prefer to take two of such stories from the Bible.

Greediness is like digging your own grave, either to fall in it or to bury yourself in it as it happened to King David, Ananias and his wife Sapphira.

David rising from the bed, began to walk on the terrace of the palace and from above, he saw a beautiful woman taking her bath. Despite his many wives, he immediately sent to inquire who that woman was. He was told: "It is Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, your faithful soldier." 

Then David, not bothering at all that the woman was the wife of a valiant soldier in war, sent messengers to take her. She went to him and he slept with her. When Bathsheba returned home, she realized later that she had conceived and let David know that she was pregnant with him.

Then David, worried, devised a plan that allowed him to exonerate himself from the trouble he had caused, hoping that the betrayal will not be discovered. He sent for Bathsheba's husband, Uriah the Hittite, from the battlefield and invited him home. 

The soldier proud of the invitation, immediately rushed to his king and David inquired about the progress of the war, his troops and finally invited him to go home to his wife. He hoped that after the long absence he might miss the 'golden apple' to sleep with his wife.

"Go down to your house and wash your feet," the king ordered. Uriah came out of the palace but did not listen to the king's words. He slept at the door of the palace with all the servants of King David, without sleeping with his wife. 

His honesty and loyalty to the law of holy war prevented him from having sexual relations in a time of war. Despite the king's request, he would certainly have felt a coward committing such an abominable act.  

Eating, drinking and sleeping in a nice bed, with his beautiful wife, while his soldiers stood in the battlefield? Not at all, he couldn't do that. 

When all the plans of King David failed, the next morning, he wrote a letter to Joab, asking him to send to Uriah to the hottest part of the battle. That’s where Uriah’s life came to an end because of David’s greed. 

Later, the Lord sent Nathan, the prophet, to tell David a story about two men in the same city, one rich and another poor.

When the story came to an end, David couldn't hide his anger against that man who did that. "For the life of the Lord, whoever did this deserves death! He will pay four times the value of the sheep, for having done such a thing without pity.”

Nathan replied: "You are that man! Thus, says the Lord God of Israel: I have anointed you the king of Israel and delivered you from the hands of Saul, I gave you the house of your master and I put in your arms all the women you desired and more still I would have given you if you had asked me, then why did you despise the word of the Lord, doing what is evil in his eyes? 

Yes, because of greed, David killed Uriah the Hittite, to take his wife and he paid bitterly for it. 

The second Biblical story about the greed of Ananias and Sapphira


All the believers were together and had everything in common, selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need. With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart.


But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a property, and kept part of the money, and delivered the part, placing it at the feet of the apostles. However, Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan so filled your heart that you lie to the Holy Spirit and keep part of the price of the farm? If this wasn't sold, wasn't it yours? And once sold, the proceeds were not available to you? 

Why did you put this into your heartYou have not lied to men but to God. Ananias, hearing these words, fell and died and a great fear ceased all those who heard these things. The young people, standing, wrapped his body, carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what had happened, entered and Peter, turning to her, said: "Tell me, have you sold the farm for so long?" She replied, "yes, for once." Then Peter asked her: "Why did you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Here, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door and they will also take you away.”

And at that moment she fell at her feet and died. The young men came in and found her dead; and, having taken her away, they buried her beside her husband. Then great fear came over the whole assembly and all those who heard these things.

These two great Biblical stories about greed are enough for greedy people, including politicians. People queue long hours under the hot sun to vote and after the politicians get what they want, they forget about the promises and neglect them to suffer. 

The greedy politicians and those chiefs selling one plot to multiple buyers, should change their ways, else all of them will end up like Ananias and his wife Sapphira.

Monday, September 9, 2019

MANDELA’S IMPACT ON AND AFTER SOUTH AFRICA



Nelson Mandela




Nelson Mandela was the first black president of South Africa, a mandate of just five years, from 1994 to 1999, but his imprint on the image of the country was very great. What was Mandela’s impact and how did South Africa really changed under his rule? 


When he became president of South AfricaNelson Mandela found a country with enormous disparities in the distribution of wealth and access to services. One of the levers which undermined the legacies of Apartheid was the economy.

In a speech in Cape Town, after the liberation, he stressed the need for  a fundamental change in our political and economic system to ensure that the inequalities of apartheid are overcome.” To solve these problems Madiba has focused on public spending

Under his presidency, public investments for welfare increased considerably, leading to an increase in the average personal wealth of Africans by 93% in the period 1993-2008. 

The effects on the Gross Domestic Product are evident, although the growth in the decade from 1990 to1999, fluctuating, South Africa had grown on average by 1.4%, reaching a peak of + 4.3% in 1996.

The fight against inequality was Mandela's workhorse, the reason why he will be remembered. From an economic point of view, his government introduced equality in the allocation of scholarships, disability benefits, and old-age pensions, previously set at different levels for the different racial groups.

In a more purely political field, he established the 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission,' an extraordinary court with the task of collecting the testimonies of the victims of apartheid. 

Yet precisely in the terrain where it seems stronger, the results of its long-term policies leave some doubts, questioning its political legacy. 

Public investments in the economic field and the end of Apartheid have had another admirable benefit, the increase in schooling. The measure is the gross enrollment rate, which shows the percentage of the school-age population that attends primary school. 

During the decade since Mandela was released at the end of his presidency, the Gross Membership Rate increased from 107% in 1990 to 113% in 1999.

One of the main criticisms of Mandela is that it did not intervene effectively against the spread of HIV.  In fact, after he left, he admitted that he had underestimated the risks of the virus. 

About 5 million and 700 thousand South Africans, more than 10 percent, have HIV, the highest number of sexual violence,132 per 100 thousand inhabitants; and the highest rate of homicides, 34 per 100 thousand inhabitants.

Another negative note in Mandela 's legacy was corruption. However, there is no data to reveal or support that he was a corruptible leader, during his rule. It is therefore not possible to make a comparison before and after his presidency. 

On December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, the former activist and South African leader, imprisoned for 27 years at the notorious Robben Island prisons, passed away after years of struggling with health issues.

However, analyzing the trends from the first measurement until today, it seems that corruption continues to increase without stopping. 

It is obvious that Jacob Zuma is the most corruptible leader ever to rule South Africa. He was forced to resign as president in February 2018 and replaced by his then deputy Cyril Ramaphosa, who promised to tackle corruption in South Africa.

Over two decades ago since the fall of Apartheid, the condition of poor South Africans haven’t improved much. Unemployment and crime have increased significantly and now the frustrated youth pours their anger on foreigners, accusing them of taking over their jobs.