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Feature

Fashion: The Health Perspective

Although fashion dictates what and how we should dress, we are the ultimate decision makers. We choose whether or not to adorn red or blue, long or short sleeved, cotton or wool, pumps or slip-ons and tight or loose fitting. Our choice is partly influenced by culture, ethnicity, age, career, religion and economic status. Our choices are tailored to achieve certain goals such as first impressions, conformity to our peers’ mode of dressing and in one way or another, the value systems we uphold.

On choosing what to wear, most people hardly consider the health element. Separating fashion from health can be equated to removing one wheel from a handcart that I will call fashion. Fashion like a cart, rides on two wheels: economy and health. The other factors are the luggage which ideally determines the route to take and speed to move. In real sense the luggage is not the issue, but the wheels because without the wheels, the cart will not move. Since we’ve been used to pulling our cart on flat wheels, we struggle with this cart that most often breaks down. For the cart to move, we keep on renewing our pulling energy by replacing old with new items that may not make a lasting difference. Soon, more spending ensues.

Most cases of back pains, swollen feet, flu, fungal infections and some types of infertility are a result of the quest to keep abreast with current fashion trends and styles. According to fertility.com, some cases of infertility are attributed to interference of physical sperm production occasioned by wearing tight pants or jeans. The denim material used to make jeans does not allow sufficient aeration of the reproductive organs, leading to infertility.

Fungal infections in both female and male reproductive organs are caused on a larger scale by over-sweating in these areas. Choice of appropriate underwear is thus crucial. White cotton undergarments are preferred since synthetic fabrics and coloured (dyes) can be irritating because of their coarse texture and chemical content. Undergarments should not be washed with detergents but mild soaps. Occasionally, you should avoid wearing underwear; you can do without them at night.

Overdressing during hot days is a common feature amongst men. They cling to their designer suit all day long in spite of the hot sun. Accumulated sweat causes bad odor as well as irritating fungal infections. The respiratory complications caused by under dressing on cold days cannot be overstated. Most of us expose our chests to colds and so develop flu that would have otherwise been avoided by dressing in warm clothes.

The pressure caused to backbones as a result of wearing shoes with heels above five inches (5”) is equally fatal to our spinal cord and feet muscles. So much has been said about this yet we never stop to put our health first before adorning the characteristic tip toe posture shoes.

Just to clarify, the slanting angle created by the heel calls for the entire body leaning forward at the same inclination. Naturally, one cannot walk or stand at an inclined angle so that the upper dorsal will automatically shift backwards to be perpendicular to gravity. To achieve this posture, the entire weight of the body is transferred to the pelvic-spinal joint, hence the pain we feel after wearing such shoes for long.  The muscular effect is caused by an attempt from the feet muscles to balance the already too heavy body. More often this leads to swollen feet.

Men are not left behind in this saga, there is the newly introduced “sharp shooter” shoes. With men, the toes’ orientation is quite incompatible to such  tightly fitting shoes.The ladies can smile here.

The general effects caused to our bodies on grounds of fashion cannot be ignored; the more we throw caution to the wind; the more we shall spend on treating ailments that would have been prevented. While fashion whispers good dressing styles, health might be shouting: lest we die!



By Antony Odeo
Mr. Odeo is an African Executive Staff Writer


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