from MARIA MACHARIA in Nairobi, Kenya
NAIROBI, (CAJ News) – MILLIONS of people in the African continent are at risk of death because of the rising problem of obesity.
The warning comes ahead of commemorations of World Obesity Day, to be marked on 4 March, under the theme, “Everybody Needs to Act.”
Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for Africa, said the trends were rising.
“This is a ticking time bomb,” she said.
“If unchecked, millions of people, including children, risk living shorter lives under the burden of poor health.”
However, there is hope.
“But we can resolve the crisis, because many of the causes of obesity and overweight are preventable and reversible,” she said.
One in five adults as well as one in ten children and teenagers are projected to be obese by December 2023 in ten high-burden African countries if no robust measures were taken to reverse the trends.
The WHO analysis finds that the prevalence of obesity among adults in the ten high-burden countries will range from 13,6 percent to 31 percent, while in children and adolescents it will range from 5 percent to 16,5 percent.
Africa also faces a growing problem of overweight in children.
In 2019, the continent was home to 24 percent of the world’s overweight children aged under 5.
Overweight has been associated with severe disease and the need for hospitalization with COVID-19.
Through a global initiative supported by WHO, the International Development Law Organization, the International Development Research Centre and the Swiss Development Cooperation support Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to develop and implement regulatory standards and fiscal measures to promote healthy diets and physical activity.
In 2022, WHO will work with ten more high-burden African countries for accelerated obesity reduction initiatives.
– CAJ News