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Regional News of Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Study shows increasing obesity among children in Kumasi

A research conducted by the Department of Biochemistry of the College of Science of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in collaboration with the universities of Tokyo and Hokkaido has revealed an alarming trend of obesity among children in the metropolis.

The research which was conducted among 10 public primary schools in Kumasi and which is yet to be published, has, therefore, recommended an aggressive government policy direction, including compulsory recreational activities, to curb the situation.

The researchers unanimously called for a regulation on the importation of polished foods and restrictions on children from being introduced to such foods at their early stages so they do not become addicted to them.

A senior lecturer of the department and a member of the research team, Reginald Annan, made these known at a collaborative workshop in Kumasi on Monday.

The researchers, including those from the University of Western Cape in South Africa, looked at the ‘obesogenic food environment mainly between Ghana and South Africa and how to halt it.’

They established that between 40 and 60 per cent of people living in Kumasi were either overweight or obese and were predisposed to high non-communicable diseases which included diabetes and hypertension.

According to them, Kumasi, known for the habit of eating enriched traditional food, has shifted drastically to an ‘out of home’ style of eating due to the increase in fast food joints and the introduction of malls.

The study also indicated that the risk of predisposed diseases was higher in the Kumasi metropolis than in the rural parts of the region due to the low levels of fruit and vegetable intake.

Prof. Emeritus David Sanders of the Western Cape University called for a multifaceted approach to improving on Africa’s low life expectancy rate where at least 45 per cent of children under five years died each year.

He said one out of four children died from stunted growth, urging policymakers and executors to find an immediate solution to the alarming condition on the continent.

The Provost of the College of Science, Prof. Ibog Oduro, called for a multi-sectoral framework which could lead to the fashioning of a policy direction to address the menace.

She said it was time for Africa to go back to the consumption of traditional food and must not be apologetic in doing so.

The research was funded by the International Development Research Centre.