Ghana is number two in West Africa with increasing cases of obesity.
This is according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative to Ghana and Regional Programme Leader for Africa, Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel.
According to him, there are currently 1.5 million obese Ghanaians.
He attributed the situation largely to imported foods consumed by Ghanaians and urbanization.
According to him, the situation in Ghana on average has not changed significantly in a positive way.
Speaking on Citi TV’s major news program Citi Newsroom on World Food Day, Dr. Haile-Gabriel stated that obesity cases have increased from 8.3 percent to 9.7 percent in past five years.
“The situation of obesity in Ghana in general, has not really changed significantly. It is stagnant. Obesity has been increasing. In fact, Ghana is number two in West Africa with obesity cases. Ghana has about 1.5 million obese people,” he said.
More Ghanaians prone to diabetes
In 2015, an Associate Professor at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, Professor Charles Agyemang, also attributed the rate at which people were becoming obese and diabetic to the inability of people to engage in physical activity, their eating habits, as well as their lifestyles, and genetics.
Studies also indicated that Ghanaians living in urban centres are more prone to diabetes and obesity than their counterparts in rural areas because the latter “do more physical activities and eat more healthy food while the former ate mainly oily foods and do not exercise regularly”.
A study conducted in February 2018 by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, also claimed that 43 per cent of Ghanaians are obese.
Ghana can attain zero hunger by 2020 – FAO Representative
Still speaking about the World Food Day, Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel expressed optimism that Ghana can attain Zero Hunger by 2020 and see government’s flagship “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, as a step in the right direction towards achieving this objective.
“It has been repeatedly demonstrated that the goal of ending hunger is achievable, other countries have done it, so it is not a conceptual issue, it is not an academic discussion and there is no reason Ghana should not be able to achieve it.”