Forty-three percent of Ghanaian adults are either overweight or obese, a joint study conducted by two universities – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and the University of Western Cape in South Africa, has concluded.
It said women were found to have the highest prevalence rate and the condition was also common among school-age children.
According to the findings, the situation in the urban areas was twice that of the rural communities.
Dr. Reginald A. Annan, Senior Lecturer at Department of Biochemistry of the KNUST and Principal Investigator on the project, announced this at a collaborative workshop on researching obesogenic food environment, its drivers and potential policy levels in Ghana and South Africa, held in Kumasi.
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) provided funding for the study, the goal of which was to identify the links between dietary patterns, food environment, value chains and policy in the two countries.
He said changes in the food environment was the main factor contributing to the alarming rate of obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
He indicated that changes in dietary practices, less physical activity, increasing calories were the drivers of these diseases.
Dr. Annan underlined the need for concerted effort by all to address the problem.
Emeritus Professor David Sanders of the Western Cape University, said non-communicable diseases were responsible for about 70 percent annual global deaths, the majority of the people, between the ages of 30 and 69 years.
He pointed out that nutrition was a key social intervention for good health, adding that, 45 percent of global neonatal deaths were associated with malnutrition.
Prof Sanders said food security was not only about the availability of enough food, but nutritious and safer food as well.
Mr Oji Samuel Oti, Senior Programmes Specialist of IDRC, said the task was to help modify food systems to ensure the production of safer food in order to reduce the spread of non-communicable diseases.