Rihanna - Interview 34

Age at interview: 13
Brief Outline: Rihanna suffers from high cholesterol and is very aware of the need to lose weight and do more exercise. Her medical condition is called hyperlipidemia. She goes to hospital every three months and takes statins every day. She also sees a dietician. Ethnic background: White British.
Background: See 'brief outline'.

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Rihanna said that she needs to lose weight and get fit because she has high cholesterol. Her medical condition is called hyperlipidemia. It developed around three years ago and it is a condition that runs in her father’s side of the family. Rihanna goes to the hospital for check ups every three months and every day after dinner she takes statins. Her younger sister also has the condition and takes the same medication.
Rihanna regularly sees a dietician that weights her, talks to her about the kind of things she should be eating and gives advice on exercise. Rihanna and her mother find the recipes the dietician has given them very useful and easy to follow. The whole family is trying to eat healthily and Rihanna said that they have vegetables everyday. She takes packed lunch to school which includes a piece of fruit.
Rihanna has recently started attending a community health programme once a week that aims to help young people to lose weight. Regarding physical activities Rihanna does PE twice a week, goes out to play with her friends in the park and does a lot of running around. She is joining a badminton club soon. Her mother said that she basically needs to do a lot more exercise. She is hoping to do a lot of swimming in the summer.
Rihanna is very clear about her reason for wanting to lose weight - basically a medical one. She said that she does not want her blood to contain too much fat because it can lead to death. In terms of body shape she would like to be a medium size but it is her health that concerns her most.
While Rihanna eats the right type of food at home and is physically active, her weight fluctuates and the reason is that sometimes she eats those things she shouldn’t like sweets. The main thing that makes it hard to lose weight is that at school her friends eat things that she can’t have and she find it hard especially when offered things to eat. She said that in those situations she just wants to fit in.

Rihanna has problems with her legs and it affects the way she walks. She is on statins to lower...

Because we’ve talked about the cholesterol problem have you had any other health problems?
Rihanna' No.
No? Okay.
Rihanna’s mum' What about your legs?
Rihanna' What?
Rihanna’s mum' Your legs?
Rihanna' Oh I have problems in my legs and that.
Oh right what problems are they?
Rihanna' Because I don’t, I don’t walk with my feet straight I walk with my feet like outways and I’m going to this specialist about them and the, well I’ve got to wear these things for school in my shoes these like black things and it, they try and make my legs go like straight because they are like twisted, so I go to a specialist about that.
Oh I see, yes so you sort of walk on the edge of your foot? I see. And so has that been causing problems at school or?
Rihanna' No, no it, the, it’s just that every once in a while my feet just start hurting and my legs start to hurt as well.
And does that stop you from doing anything, this problem with your legs?
Rihanna' Sometimes PE when I get pains in my legs, I get pains in my legs because of my cholesterol as well.
Do you?
Rihanna' Yeah. When I was first started on my tablets I started getting pains in my legs and I had to go to the hospital because of it.
Rihanna’s mum' She’s on statin.
Rihanna’s mum' And they said that could be one of the side effects, you know, she gets pains.
Rihanna' Muscle pains.
So does that, does it make it difficult then to do exercise and things or?
Rihanna' No it, well yeah it makes me, it’s hard to like run around because it like hurts so, and I struggle to run around with my, my legs like hurting because they get really sore. 

Rihanna goes to hospital every three months for blood tests to check her cholesterol levels. She doesn’'t mind taking medication but worries about her condition getting worse. (Animated clip).

Rihanna: I go to like a hospital for, every three months for to get it checked and I’m on tablets for it as well.
And so how, when you go to the hospital what do they do?
Rihanna: They just inject me and take a little blood out and then they send it off and then, a few days later, a week or so, a letter will come through telling us like what our cholesterol actually is.
And so how long ago can you remember did they tell you that there was a problem with your cholesterol?
Rihanna’s mum: Be about three years.
Rihanna: Three years.
Okay about three years, yeah.
Rihanna' Every year I go to [hospital] to see a doctor as well about it.
And so in that time has it got better your cholesterol?
Rihanna: Yeah.
Does it cause you any problems having that high cholesterol?
Rihanna: Yeah because when I am at Guides when I go on camps I can’t eat certain foods what like other girls eat so I’ve got to watch what I’m eat.
What kinds of things can’t you eat?

Rihanna: Like a lot of dairy products, things with sugar in and like fatty foods, I can never, like once in a while but not like every day.

And do you think that’s important, to be healthy?
Rihanna: Yeah.
Why do you think that is?
Rihanna: Because it’s like it helps, it is helping you keep like your, you are well and so what you eat is like right instead of like putting weight on and stuff.
Yeah? And why is it important to not put weight on?
Rihanna: Because like you can get high cholesterol and you get like lots of fat in your body and stuff.
What can happen if you’ve got that?
Rihanna: You can die.
Is that something that you worry about or?
Rihanna: Yeah.
Do you worry about your cholesterol problem? Yeah?
Rihanna' Yeah.
Do you worry about your weight as well?
Rihanna: Yeah.
So and what kind of things do you worry about?
Rihanna: Like that, I would like get lots of fat in my, in my blood and I’ll die.
And you’re taking medication aren’t you for your cholesterol?
Rihanna: Yeah.
Problem? Okay. And how, do you mind taking that medication?
Rihanna: Pardon?
Do you mind taking it?
Rihanna: No.
No. How often do you have to take it?

Once a night, right after my tea.

Rihanna and her little sister have a condition that affects their cholesterol. It runs in their father’s side of the family. (Animated clip).

You mentioned about your little sister as well is, so is there, is this sort of a family problem…?
Rihanna: Yeah. My brother doesn’t have it it’s just me and my sister.
And this is the problem with the cholesterol?
Rihanna: Yeah I’ve got other two brothers that they have it as well.
Rihanna’s mum: Though the sister, your little sister she’s got a cholesterol problem as well, it’s not as high as [name] but it comes from their daddy’s side of the family, he’s had brothers that’s actually died with strokes and heart attacks while they were young so this is why we started chasing it, and this is what they found out that, I’ve forgotten what they call it, it’s familial something, I can’t remember the name, it’s related to the cholesterol anyway through the family.
Rihanna’s mum: Could be.
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