Invitation to an Inter-College Lecture on Obesity a Menace to the Health of Adults in Ghana

Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 16:30
R.S. Amegashie Hall, University of Ghana

The Department of Community Health, College of Health Sciences invites members of the University community to an inter-college lecture as follows:

Title:           Obesity a Menace to the Health of Adults in Ghana: Epidemiology and Policy Implications

Speaker:     Professor Alfred Yawson

Date:           Thursday, October 24, 2019

Time:          4:30 p.m.

Venue:        R.S. Amegashie Hall, University of Ghana Business School



Introduction: Trends of obesity in low- and middle-income countries continue to increase. Obesity increases the risk of hypertension and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with all the related-health consequences worldwide and in Africa. Population level changes in body weight in Ghana over a ten-year period was assessed.

Method: This analysis is based on data from SAGE Ghana Wave 0 (2003/2004) and SAGE Ghana Wave 2 (2014/2015) in over 3500 adults 18 years and older. Body mass index was used as the main outcome measure. Changes in population level prevalence of obesity over a decade were determined and risk predictors of obesity assessed.

Results: Overall, prevalence of obesity in the adult population in Ghana has more than doubled within a decade (from 5.5% in 2004 to 13.4% in 2014).  Obesity was higher in women than men (20.7% vs. 4.8%) and relatively higher among urban than rural dwellers (18.2% vs. 8.5%).  The southern regions of Ghana had relatively higher levels of obesity (highest in the Greater Accra region, 16.1% in 2004 and 28.6% in 2014).

In both sexes, prevalence of obesity was highest among those in their middle-ages (41-50 years), those with formal education (13.9%) and persons with sedentary lifestyles/ physically inactive (16.6%). Adults who consumed alcohol had high proportion of obesity in both 2004 and 2014.  Generally, obese adults in Ghana had other co-morbid conditions (hypertension and diabetes) i.e.  obese adults had significant higher levels of blood pressure.

Conclusion: Obesity among adults in Ghana (18 years and older) has increased over two-folds in a decade. The analysis provides concrete evidence and need to intensify action across the country on the 2012 National Policy for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases in Ghana to shift the trajectory of factors contributing to the rise in NCDs and meet WHO’s NCD Target #7 to halt the rise in obesity and diabetes by 2025.

Reducing obesity in adults in Ghana requires structural, social and health-related policy changes at the national level as well as family and individual level lifestyle modifications.