Dr. Rimini K. Machunga, Department of Family Medicine, Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia, Nasarawa State of Nigeria takes a poetic view of the medical crisis of non-communicable diseases humanity is inviting by easy eating habits.
I am teased at school
They call me a fat pig
They call me hippo
They call me fatty bum bum
They call me Mama Jama
They call me Heavy Dee
And what do I do?
I say nothing
I smile sheepishly
I show a bold face
Then I hide myself
And I cry.
Why am I fat?
Why not “plus size”?
Why not “on the big side”?
The kids do not lie as the mainstream people do
Kids are not “politically correct”
Kids are mean and brutally honest
Why does mommy say I am a great kid?
Why doesn’t daddy say I am too fat?
Is it because they are fat too?
Too guilty to point an accusing finger?
Or are they plain lazy
To engage in sports with me?
Perhaps they have no money
Too poor to enroll me in a sports club
“Just study hard my child,
To become a professional
And land a great job,
And deliver us all from poverty
Perhaps they have no time
Mommy works just as hard as daddy does
No time to shop and plan for proper meals
Mr. Biggs, Sweet Sensation and Dominos Pizza
These are very handy and trendy meals
For the parents on the go!
We eat Indomie and fast grown chicken
Chicken wings and drumsticks
Or we buy chicken and chips
Or pizza and icecream
We love our doughnuts, cookies and cake
And don’t leave out the pop, soda and juices.
What is millet pap and guinea corn pap?
Give us vanilla custard please
What is soya milk?
Give us milkshakes please
What is amala and gbegiri soup?
Yuck! We can manage Poundo and egusi soup
What is ofada rice?
I want parboiled foreign rice.
What is furah da nono?
I will only have sweetened and flavoured yoghurt.
Who on earth eats pumpkins?
Pumpkins are for Halloween lanterns.
I do not eat local chicken;
Not enough meat in them
Besides they are tough
I do not eat vegetables
They require daily purchase for freshness
No electricity to keep them in the fridge
So many reasons to explain why I am fat;
Why I have low self esteem and depression
This in turn affects my studies
I am now a Dumb Fat Kid.
No one wants to be my friend
Is being fat is a contagion?
As I carry on with this heavy life
I am burdened with early onset arthritis
Even if I wanted to exercise, this is now too painful.
I am debilitated by diabetes and heart disease
Even cancers are on the horizon
O my God! What a heavy life to bear!