A recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation reported that of the twenty million Ghanaians, three million currently overweight or obese. In addition, more than 16% of the population in the Greater Accra region is overweight or obese. These numbers are of interest to me because high rates of obesity indicate potentially high rates of diabetes, hypertension, and stroke and other diseases. It is a bigger societal problem, but what is happening at the community reflects what is happening at the individual level.
Everyone knows that wellness or good health is primarily a combination of diet and exercise. The most popular meals in Accra have high carbohydrate content, are fried with unhealthy oils like palm oil. Who wonders why we’re expanding? Additionally, there are now a lot of people who lead sedentary lives due to the nature of the work they do. To keep healthy, such people would need to consciously eat healthily and make the time to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle. This may seem like a simple idea but apparently the notion is foreign to some.
I have recently joined a gym. But most people who hear that I did so seem surprised that I bother. The common question I’m getting is which fat I’m trying to burn since I am already slender. The interesting thing is that even the people I am meeting at the gym, most of whom are middle aged men with rounded features also ask me why I’m taking the time to work out, as if to suggest that only fat people need to work out.
If this is the general perception, it may explain the increasing rates of obesity in our city. The idea of living a healthy lifestyle in order to decrease the likelihood of getting to the point where one “needs” to exercise has not caught on, and I feel that if we are to move towards decreasing the waistlines of our population that would be a great place to begin.