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BOSIRE: Not all weight gain is a result of a careless lifestyle





Do not blindly join the dietary fads without talking to your doctor.

2018 was an extremely difficult year for Armanda*. She had always been an active person, playing basketball for the school team throughout high school. When she joined university, she carried on the trend and soon she was appointed the team captain.

Armanda has always been a disciplined person. It takes a lot of self-drive and initiative to attend practice daily even when everyone else was off having a good time. While her friends hit the clubs on weekends and slept all day nursing hangovers, Armanda was shooting hoops and swimming.

Despite such an active lifestyle, Armanda noted that she was putting on weight. She was distressed when she had to change her wardrobe.

Her mother took her shopping without fuss, but she was also worried. Her mother had been diabetic for 12 years and it was not an easy journey.

She changed her lifestyle and by extension, that of her family. She ensured she served healthy meals at home and encouraged everyone to keep fit to protect them from diabetes.

So far, Armanda had been her mother’s success story. She ate right and was physically fit. Her mother worried that maybe, being away from home was making Armanda’s diet inappropriate, hence the weight gain. However, she did not want to make her daughter feel judged.

Things got worse when Armanda suffered injury to her ankle and could no longer play basketball. She had minor surgery and the recovery took several weeks.

During her convalescence, Armanda added 12 kilogrammes. She felt terrible and the stress began to affect her. She slept a lot, spent all her free time in bed and wore big clothes to conceal the weight.

Though she lost her appetite, the pounds kept piling. She lost interest in many of the fun things she did and she even avoided swimming altogether despite the doctor recommending it.

At least she could work out without straining her ankle in the pool. Armanda could not fathom buying a bigger swimming costume and exposing expanding waistline.

As she battled with weight and self-esteem issues, a new problem was creeping up which took her a while to get her attention. She started missing her monthly periods and when they did come, they were excruciatingly painful. She had always suffered discomfort during menses, but now they were out of order.

As if that was not enough, she developed bad acne that was unresponsive to any home remedies she could think of. She noticed that the three strands of hair on her chin that she had meticulously managed to conceal all these years with the help of her trusty tweezers had suddenly multiplied while the one on her head was falling off in clumps!


In the wake of all these unwelcome changes, Armanda was struggling to keep her grades up. Her social life suffered as she gave up basketball for good and preferred spending her weekends at home curled up on the couch with a blanket, watching movies on Netflix. She would struggle to get through assignments and concentrate in class.

Her mother intervened and brought her for a consultation one afternoon. It was the start of a long-term relationship. Imaging tests and several blood tests later, Armanda was diagnosed with multiple hormonal problems.

She suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition that caused the menstrual problems, the acne and facial hair. The imbalance of her reproductive hormones and an excess of testosterone in the system were wreaking havoc in her body.

As a result of the polycystic ovarian syndrome, her risk of getting diabetes increased sevenfold. This, in addition to the fact that she already had a family history of diabetes, and the huge weight increase she had experienced, made her the perfect candidate for the condition.

She was diagnosed with diabetes much to her mother’s distress.

As if that was not enough, Armanda was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland was unable to make enough thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for driving metabolism in the body. In Armanda’s case her metabolism was slowing down, making her put on even more weight.

Armanda is currently under the care of a multidisciplinary team. As we manage her gynaecological problems, she also sees an endocrinologist for her thyroid and diabetes, a health and fitness doctor for weight management, and a dermatologist for her hair and skin problems.

She is ecstatic about the new year. She has lost 10 per cent of her body weight, her skin is much better, her menses are back on track and she is back to the swimming pool! She no longer needs to take diabetes medication as she can now manage her blood sugar on diet alone. And her grades are back on track.

Armanda is a perfect example of the complexities that can result in weight issues. Not all weight gain is a result of a careless lifestyle. Sometimes it is just a symptom of an underlying medical problem. Therefore, as you make your new year’s resolutions to lose weight, it is wise to ensure you are not masking a bigger problem.

Do not blindly join the dietary fads without talking to your doctor. You could easily find yourself in a coma in the intensive care unit as you attempt to starve yourself out of obesity!


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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard




Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.


However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard




President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health




Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.


Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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