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50% of Ghanaians are obese -Research reveals

A recent survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service has revealed that 50 percent of Ghanaians are overweight or obese.

50% of Ghanaians are obese

Many people may find this information a bit shocking, however, insights from a study conducted by the Division of Global Public Health at Brunel University London shed light on potential factors contributing to this situation.

According to the research, a mere 10 percent of Ghanaians engage in both regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet simultaneously.

Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the study sought to identify the factors influencing physical activity and healthy eating habits among adults aged 18 years and older in three major cities: Kumasi, Accra, and Tamale.

Conducted by Dr. Kingsley Agyemang, a part-time lecturer at KNUST, the research represents the most extensive dataset on obesity in Ghana to date.

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The study involved 3348 respondents, with an average age of 40, and notably, 60 percent of the participants were women.

The initial findings highlighted a significant connection between increased physical activity and a higher likelihood of adopting healthy eating habits.

The report stated that the statistical significance of this positive correlation indicates a clear relationship between these two behavioral choices.

Furthermore, the research revealed that while men tended to be more physically active, they were less inclined to maintain a healthy diet.

A noteworthy discovery from the findings was that individuals perceiving being overweight as a sign of beauty, a symbol of good living, or as a hereditary factor were less prone to engaging in physical activity.

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In contrast, the awareness of the health risks associated with obesity was linked to increased physical activity among individuals.

The study also emphasized that the place of residence exhibited the most significant association with physical activity. Tamale residents, in particular, were 26% less likely to participate in physical activity compared to those residing in Kumasi.

In terms of income and employment, the findings indicated that individuals with higher incomes (earning >GH¢ 1000 per month) and those employed were 3–5% and 6% more likely to engage in physical activity, respectively.

Additionally, while married individuals were more inclined to maintain healthy eating habits, the difference was not as pronounced compared to those who were not married.

Furthermore, the study indicated that religion did not influence the consumption of a healthy diet.

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The researchers suggest that these findings could serve as valuable insights for government and state agencies, helping them develop strategies to address unhealthy lifestyle choices in Ghana.

"The insights derived from this analysis, revealing the nature and extent of the interplay between physical activity and diet, are crucial for crafting targeted interventions aimed at preventing obesity in Ghana," emphasized the researchers.

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