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05.09.2003 General News

Poor Diet causes chronic diseases - Dietician

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Accra, Sept. 5, GNA - Poor diet has been identified as a risk factor for the major chronic diseases that are said to be the leading causes of death in the country, Mrs Gladys Peprah-Boateng, Chief Dietician of 37 Military Hospital said in Accra on Friday.

She said the body required the various nutrients in definite proportions and amounts, which form the basis of the practice of balance and adequate diet as applied to health.

Mrs Peprah-Boateng said this at a day's national symposium under the theme: "The Impact of diet on Health."

The Ghana Medical Association organized the symposium, as part of its continuing education and had over 100 participants drawn from Greater Accra, Volta, Western, Eastern and Central Regions.

Topics to discussed included iron deficiency, diet in pregnancy, diet and dental health, hyperlipaedemias, and diet of infant and young child including protein/calorie malnutrition.

Ms Peprah-Boateng noted that malnutrition is a global problem with devastating consequences resulting in the weakness of the immune system and worsening of illness when not properly treated.

"Malnutrition thus reduces the quality of life and financially drains the family, communities and countries with its consequences occurring within the first two years of life."

She urged Ghanaians to pay much attention to whatever they eat and ensure that they eat a well balanced diet to avoid cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes mellitus and some type of cancers.

Dr Victoria May Adebayeri, Head of the Department of Child Health, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, who talked on "Diet of Infant and Young Child", said children with severe malnutrition were often seriously ill, adding, "much attention should, therefore, be paid to the micro-nutrient deficiencies and food supplements to be added to their diet".

She said children should be provided with all the necessary nutrients and vitamins in adequate quantities and urged that caregivers be involved at every step so as to decrease the likelihood of malnourishment among children.

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