Youth Lead on Encouraging Healthy Lifestyles

Educating those suffering from obesity to transform their lives

According to the latest Global Nutrition Report, 28.2% of women and 43.1% of men in Jordan are obese. This is an extremely alarming matter, especially that obesity is directly linked with increased health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

The risk of obesity has recently increased due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and the consequent government-imposed curfew and lockdowns; not only have gyms and fitness centers been closed but people have been forced to stay inside, with limited hours allowed for them to leave their houses. Without the proper guidance and psychosocial support needed, this might as well lead to binge eating and emotional eating disorders which would eventually alleviate obesity and its associated health problems.

When quarantine measures were enacted, Rania Awwad, a 25 years old health enthusiast young female, residing in Eil, Maan Governorate, began to worry about the impact these measures would have on her family members and friends suffering from obesity, Rania comments: “I care for those around me deeply. I didn’t want their health to decline during this period, so I began to think of ways to help.” With the support of USAID YouthPower, Rania began to learn more about healthy lifestyles, including how to lose weight to combat obesity. 

“When quarantine measures as a result of COVID-19 threatened to worsen the health of those struggling with obesity, I knew it was time to act. With the right knowledge and tools, I could encourage others to live healthier lifestyles.”

After participating in several online trainings held by USAID YouthPower, Rania received the tools and acquired the knowledge needed to lead a healthy lifestyle and encourage others to do so as well. As she had the chance to learn and dive deeply in the world of therapeutic foods, basics of sports for health, in addition to culinary arts, she learned how to create feasible and sustainable weight loss plans that anyone could follow to help improve their health. This helped in easing her worries over the health of her beloved ones. She no longer felt helpless, but rather empowered, she felt as if she was a part of the solution. Now, equipped with knowledge, Rania feels as a young influencer capable of supporting her family, friends and people in her community to overcome obesity. 

Nowadays, Rania deploys the available online platforms and social media to spread her knowledge, she enjoys helping others to transform their lives and become healthier. As she looks to the 

future, she hopes that her family and friends will take part in the knowledge transfer and continue to share what they have learned to help others improve their health as well.

“If we continue to share this knowledge, we can eventually reach everyone in our communities and across the entire country. This will allow all of us to be healthier and happier”. 

These online trainings that empowered Rania to unleash her potentials and change her perception about herself, eventually enabling her to play an active role in the positive development of youth in her community is a part of USAID YouthPower youth led initiatives taking place in Ma’an.

In addition to Ma’an, USAID YouthPower targets 60 communities in Jordan. Working innovatively on empowering youth to act as engaged citizens and productive members of society with the agency to advocate for themselves, and properly prepare them to enter higher education, vocational training and the workforce, leaving behind sustainable, community-based resources and avenues for civic engagement for youth in targeted partner communities.