Many Ghanaians shorter due to malnutrition – health report
The Ghana Statistical Service Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey has revealed that 22.7% of people are shorter than their age due to malnutrition.
Ghana has been cited among the 36 countries in the world with stunting problems affecting children even more.
The report said 40% Ghanaians with stunting problems live in the Ashanti region alone.
The Deputy Director in charge of Nutrition at the Ghana Health Service, Wilhemina Okwabi explains that the defect is due to the poor nutritional foods mothers give to infant, which does not support height development.
She admitted that most of the foods are carbohydrate based, and lacked proteins for body building.
“This is why most Ghanaians are not tall as they should be,” Ms. Okwabi said.
She noted that the younger generations appear taller than the older generation because of recent improvements in nutrition.
“People normally say oh my child resembles his grandfather or grandmother. But actually, they suffer from stunted growth due to poor nutrition,” Ms. Okwabi lamented.
She said from pregnancy to child birth, nutrition is so crucial because if the child loses out on the crucial foundation nutrition, “he/she will grow with it, therefore it is important to add protein-based foods to the ‘kooko’ for the infants”
Meanwhile, the Statistical Service Cluster Survey also showed 30% of females between age 15 and 49 are overweight.
Adom News has been observing the popularity of fried noodles or macaroni on the streets at night.
Some of these women who spoke to Adom News said they prefer selling fried noodles to selling beverages because of the increasing demand for the noodles and its easy preparation.
One woman, Ayorkor Tetteh admitted that they use oil, eggs, sausages, canned beef, and sardines to prepare the noodles.
She expressed concern that they the traders are aware that the high calorie diet could be harmful to one’s health but argue that the customers insist on it therefore they have no option but to prepare it the way customers want it.
“Some customers insist that we add more sausages and eggs even when we caution them,” Auntie Ayorkor complained.
The Deputy Director of Health cautioned that the increasing level of fat in our diet is the cause of overweight as identified in the survey but advised that “we can eat the noodles as long we increase the vegetable content, reduce salt and sugar.”
The Ghana Health Service noted with concern the increasing cost of food as a major setback to the fight to improve nutrition as they acknowledge many households spend 50-60% of their incomes on food.
The Service has therefore designed the National Nutrition Policy to resolve some of the challenges including, prioritizing nutrition with the view to demanding for adequate food and nutrition security from policymakers for all Ghanaians.