One of SAUNA’s primary objectives is championing healthy lifestyles among Ugandans living/working in Uganda and North America through annual sports activities.

In Uganda, the Parliament of Uganda and other entities that include the United Nations Development Programmes (UNDP) and SAUNA have embarked on fitness initiatives that are intended to enhance the well-being of Ugandans.

‘Good health and well-being’ is UNDP’s third Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).

As Uganda celebrated the National Day of Physical Activity on June 17, 2024, SAUNA Director Fred Kaweesi, who also doubles as the Head of Sports at Vision Group engaged the United Nations Development Programmes Resident Representative to Uganda Nwanne Vwede-Obahor on what UNDP is doing to complement Uganda’s efforts in curbing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and promoting healthy lifestyles.

“The relevance of NCDs and the relationship between them and physical activity is very well known. Many chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension have very scientific linkages to the level of physical activity. So, for us in UNDP, we are working on creating knowledge on the nature of NCDs, working on the enactment of policies to address them, and working with other relevant bodies on ensuring that this is understood by the public,” Obahor told Vision Sports.

Uganda’s youth population is about 75 percent of the population but only about 10% engage in physical activity.

Obahor feels this is worrying and something must be done to improve these statistics.

“There is a need to encourage youth to go out and partake in physical activity because our lives in general are getting more sedentary. Sitting for a long time is the new smoking so there is a lot of problems associated with a lack of physical movement. But engaging in physical activity is a personal responsibility and they have to do it for their well-being. The government and companies can encourage in the areas I have pointed out but it is all about personal responsibility,” she stated.

She added that: “We have to encourage people from a young age to prioritize physical activity as a way of shielding themselves from potentially becoming part of the statistics of NCDs.”