Despite poverty, obesity is now a major health issue in Africa

Posted on October 11, 2014 03:41 pm

After decades of addressing the lack of nutrition among Africans, health experts are now worried about an issue at the other end of the health spectrum outside Ebola and HIV-AIDS- obesity. Forget about Ebola that has grabbed all headlines, African countries are facing multiple nutrition problems that need to be addressed immediately and not only malnutrition, but over-nutrition and obesity,” according to a lead software developer involved in developing mobile health apps targeted at different patients from diabetes to hypertension.Introducing a proper understanding of a balanced diet has become a challenge not only among the middle and lower classes, but also in the upper class. The obesity problem in Africa has been increasing over the past few years, not only in the big cities but also in rural areas according to statistics. A 2010 study on basic health to show that obesity was beginning to become a serious problem for the continent.The results showed that 27.5 percent of the population aged over 18 years was either overweight or obese. The same problems affected 39.3 percent of children under the age of 5. In some African countries, there is a belief that obesity is an indicator of improving economic conditions but experts have long warned that it was merely the result of a lack of information and education about what a balanced diet was.

The lead developer who happens to be a close blue informed me that merely consuming a complete range of food types without considering the proper proportions did not make for a balanced diet contrary to what majority of people in Africa want to believe. Everybody has different ideal intakes and should not give the same amount of food to a sick child and a healthy one. He added during our conversation that most Africans were still used to the old-fashioned concept intake of milk, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Though the concept is affordable to many, the research that guides his team in developing the apps revealed many people mistakenly think that consuming foods from all five groups makes them healthy, whereas more important is having a balanced intake and few have recognised that balanced diet puts more emphasis on vitamins than the rest, and in his own words therefore fruits and vegetables should be prioritised in the daily menu instead of carbohydrates. An imbalanced diet causes not only malnutrition but also obesity, diabetes and heart disease.A new study has concluded that the main causes of death in the continent are shifting from communicable diseases to so-called lifestyle diseases, with stroke and heart attack coming out as the top killers in most countries outside of malaria and HIV Aids. The study also showed that South Africa, Tanzania Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria had the highest prevalence of obesity, with more than 20 percent of the people suffering from excess body fat.Each culture in Africa has its own definition of nutritious food and has its own eating habits, and sometimes it affects nutrition intake. Northern Uganda and Tanzania,North Eastern Kenya and Zambian rural areas for instance, have relatively few obesity cases because traditional food is quite healthy, whereas in Central Uganda,Central Kenya and coastal Tanzania where everything is cooked, obesity numbers are relatively high according to the study.

Contador Harrison