Danger Ahead: About 50% of Ghanaians are suffering obesity – Study Reveals

More than half of the respondents do not exercise at all, and almost 90% don’t eat well (based on the WHO recommended level of fruits and vegetable consumption).

 

A study has revealed the dangerous health trend of obesity in the country. This was established in a comprehensive survey, the first ever on obesity and other lifestyle behaviours in the country, that majority of Ghanaians are overweight or obese.

The findings were a full-scale obesity study carried out in the major cities of Ghana, including Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, involving 3000 respondents. It was under the auspices of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).

The study reveals an alarming health threat due to bad eating habits and lack of physical activity participation in the country.

More than half of the respondents do not exercise at all, and almost 90% don’t eat well (based on the WHO recommended level of fruits and vegetable consumption).

Public health experts fear this could be part of an upward trajectory that if unaddressed, will cause massive health risks for millions of Ghanaians.

The survey was informed by the first ever stakeholder engagement Obesity workshop in 2019 to determine policy direction on obesity in the sub-Saharan Africa. The workshop brought together over 50 policy makers across multiple sectors.

Danger Ahead: About 50% of Ghanaians are suffering obesity - Study Reveals
Dr Kingsley Agyemang

According to the academic lead of the Ghana Obesity Survey, Dr Kingsley Agyemang

“Obesity is on a sharp rise in Ghana and the trend is due to the increased adoption of inactive lifestyles, poor eating habits and neglect of our indigenous recipes.”

He noted that “being obese is not good for the health of the person. Neither is it good for the health of the nation.”

He argued for the immediate need to develop ‘context-specific, culturally sensitive, cost-effective and sustainable’ public health measures to address obesity in Ghana.

According to Dr Kingsley Agyeman, who is also the Registrar of the National Scholarship Secretariat, such interventions could include the mass fitness action – The Kingsley Fit club which he developed in 2020.

The Kingsley Keep Fit now has over 5,000 people in Ghana and has extended to an inter-schools event under the auspices of the Ghana Football Association (GFA).

Following this, the Vice President of Ghana, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, recently launched the National Fitness Day and encouraged Ghanaians to exercise regularly.

The Presidential Advisor on Health, Dr Nsiah Asare, also aknowledged the policy impact of the study when he noted that “The study was conducted to inform Ghanaian health policy to reduce obesity.

“I believe that the study team built on policy relevance and innovative academic methodologies in reviewing the evidence base, using advanced sampling techniques and statistical analyses to outline key areas that needed attention.

“Through the activities of research, stakeholder engagement and consensus building I believe this work is already informing the policy debate in Ghana about tackling obesity,” he stated.

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