Ugandan Men Fight 'Beer Belly Syndrome'13 nov. 2012
They booze till dawn and munch kilos of roast meat daily. And before they know it, these men look like they have swallowed a pot, writes Carol Natukunda
Some men must be pregnant. Or they probably have worms. Sounds funny, but just how else can we explain a man with a tummy protruding to the size of a basket?
Okay, before you attack us for being insensitive, we shall excuse those whose tummies have bulged because of illnesses. But the potbelly, or 'beer belly' syndrome seems to have caught Ugandan young men unawares.
Even the Police chief Kale Kayihura is worried for his officers. A few months ago, Kayihura gave a six-month ultimatum to his officers with potbellies to trim them, lest they miss out on likely promotions. Kayihura, who describes bulging tummies as excessive luggage, feels the tummies are affecting his boys' level of efficiency.
It is not just about Policemen. Last month, we saw the new Uganda National Examinations Board chairman, Fagil Mandy, drilling the scouts in rigorous exercise to help them cut this baggage. Mandy, in fact, pleaded with all able companies to build gyms for staff - and all schools to reinstate physical exercises to curb this pot belly and fat syndrome.
A potbelly was once a sign of prestige, but not anymore. Four out of five men that Sunday Vision randomly talked to, confessed that while they are not self-conscious about their weight, the biggest body issue for them is the "beer belly."
A man with a potbelly is often branded as 'corrupt' implying that he must have embezzled so much money and that his stomach swelled because he spent much of it on food that he ate carelessly. Other people remark slyly: "oh, he must love his beer."
Matt Ogwal, a 25-year-old research analyst, parties hard on weekends, usually drinking 12 beers on a Friday evening. He has no family history of obesity. But he worries he might get the beer belly. "I don't mind putting on weight minimally," says Ogwal. "But if it is only the tummy, God forbid!"
And just when we thought women are only focused on their own bodies, the responses we got when we randomly talked to them about men with beer bellies included: "Gosh," that tummy! "Not cool!"
Source: The New Vision