The research conducted in seven African countries including Nigeria, Congo Brazzaville, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Niger and Ghana showed that three million out of 20 million population of Ghana are overweight and obese.
Obesity is excessive body fat to the point where it impairs the health of the individual and it is a leading cause of preventable illnesses and deaths worldwide.
Obesity increases the risk of several conditions including diabetes, hypertension and other heart diseases.
In the last 10 years, the number of overweight people in industrialised countries has increased to the extent that WHO has called obesity an 'epidemic'.
Research also conducted in Ghana also revealed that obesity and overweight are more common in the southern part of the country than in the northern part.
It is high in the Greater Accra with 16.1 prevalence and virtually absent in the Upper West and Upper East.
The situation is more common with females than males with 7.9 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.
This revelation came to light when ELMAMUM CENTRE organised a health symposium on the prevalence of overweight and obesity in Ghana, last week in Accra.
According to Dr Yaw Oppong, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of Chemical Pathology, University of Ghana Medical School, studies elsewhere show that obesity is higher in people living in filthy surroundings and polluted environments.
He called for a modification in lifestyle explaining that we should take in food that contains low fat, low carbohydrate, high fruit and vegetarian diet.
Addressing the symposium, a deputy Minister of Health Dr (Mrs) Gladys Ashitey indicated that researchers in Ghana and around the world have identified overweight and obesity as a major risk factor linked to diabetes (type 2), hypertension, sleep disorders, gall bladder diseases, stroke and certain cancer.
She said due to the adoption of western lifestyle by Ghanaians by way of food, obesity and overweight which was once considered a problem only in high income countries are now on the rise in low and middle income countries particularly in urban settings.
She also revealed that obesity and overweight among children under five years has also increased.
Source: The Point