Centre to keep portly MPs in shape

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WINDHOEK – The creation of a wellness centre at the National Assembly is high on the agenda to promote healthy lifestyles of the country’s lawmakers in the wake of a previous report that implored lawmakers to live healthier lifestyles and reduce the prospects of hypertension, obesity and diabetes, amongst others.

At a press conference yesterday, the Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi told journalists that the establishment of a wellness centre was discussed during the recently-concluded induction workshop for lawmakers, which ended last Friday, and that there is a need for it.
“The topic was deliberated during the workshop last week. There is nothing wrong with having a well-ness centre, which MPs can access here. Other parliaments that I have visited have similar arrangments,” Katjavivi said.
During last week’s workshop, the chief medical officer at the Windhoek Central Hospital Dr Christoph Obenhauzer made a presentation based on personal wellness and lifestyle choices.
In 2012, former health minister Dr Richard Kamwi cautioned lawmakers to live healthy lifestyles because 46.9 per cent of the legislators were seemingly overweight, obese or extremely obese in some cases.
Kamwi’s report emanated from a Workplace Wellness Service Day, which was conducted by a local bank during the first quarter of 2012 on MPs and even on parliamentary staff.

According to the results, 43.8 per cent of the MPs were suffering from hypertension, 31.3 per cent from high cholesterol, 18.8 per cent suffered from diabetes and 46.9 were found to be overweight, obese or extremely obese.
Kamwi at the time said there is a strong need for prevntion measures for those who do not live healthy lifestyles.
The need for a wellness centre for lawmakers has been mooted for years now, but limited space has been the major constraining factor.
With regards to limited space, when asked on office space for the MPs serving in the expanded National Assembly, Katjavivi said: “That is one of the reasons why we need a new parliament.”
The number of seats in the National Assembly was increased from 78 to 104, but Katjavivi said additional office space has already been secured for the additional MPs.
“Now it is just a matter of consulting with the parties to finalise as to which parties will be accommodated outside parliament but we have secured enough space,” he said.
It is envisaged the planned new parliament, to cost N$700 million, will consist of committee rooms, a conference hall, a health and wellness centre and video conferencing facilities.

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