A study has revealed the dangerous health trend of obesity in Ghana.
A comprehensive survey, the first ever on obesity and other lifestyle behaviours in the country revealed that majority of Ghanaians are overweight or obese.
The survey further reveals an alarming health threat due to bad eating habits and lack of physical activity of most citizens in the country.
The findings were a full-scale obesity study carried out in the major cities of Ghana including Accra, Kumasi and Tamale involving 3000 respondents under the auspices of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
More than half of the respondents do not exercise at all, and almost 90% don’t eat well in line with the WHO recommended level of fruit and vegetable consumption.
Public health experts fear that’s part of an upward trajectory that left 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 sub-Saharan Africa.
The workshop brought together over 50 policy makers across multiple sectors.
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 indigenous recipes.
He noted that being obese is not good for the health of a person nor for the health of the nation.
He calls for the immediate need to develop ‘context-specific, culturally sensitive, cost-effective and sustainable public health measures to address obesity in Ghana.
According to him, such interventions could include mass fitness action.
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, acknowledged the policy impact of the study when he said: “The study was conducted to inform Ghanaian health policy to reduce obesity."
He added, “I believe that the study team built on policy relevant 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.”