Fast food instead of traditional food means poor health

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

Global experts meeting in Addis Ababa to discuss food safety and healthy nutrition recommended that Ethiopia promote its traditional healthy foods to avoid obesity and health problems.
Jessica Fanzao, Bloomberg Distinguished Associate Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies told Capital that Ethiopia has healthy traditional foods and should celebrate them and choose them over fast food.
“You have ‘Injera’ and other pure organic foods that are good for health and you should be concerned about the increasing amount of fast foods because they create obesity and other diseases. The traditional foods must be the dominant food on the Ethiopian table to prevent this. Ethiopia should learn from the US which has many non-communicable diseases,” Jessica said.
She continued, “Sure, foreign fast food entrants must be regulated and cautioned against. But cultural beliefs about body aesthetics are yet to fully change and this will continue to impede any progress in the area if it is not addressed.”
Recent research indicates that the growing rate of obesity in the country is being fueled by changing lifestyles, diet, social pressure and status.
Jessica lauded Ethiopia’s efforts to reduce stunting.
“Ghana and Ethiopia do great jobs fighting stunting and people should follow their example. Now food safety and healthy nutrition guidelines are being prepared to help the global world a healthy nutrition I hope counties will use this and apply in their own system in the near future.’’
There is growing concern about rising obesity in Ghana and Africa at large. According to research by Quartz, obesity is high among urban African women between 15 and 49 years and has increased in the 24 African countries the research has been conducted in over the last 25 years.
Egypt has the highest prevalence of obesity, with two out of every five Egyptians (39%) being obese, followed by 22% in Ghana, with obesity being most prevalent among lower income earners. Among obesity factors, the most cited today is fast food.
A World Health Organization report earlier this year found that the prevalence of overweight and obese children on this continent had surged from 4.8 percent to 6.1 percent in the last 25 years. The number of these children has doubled, from 5.4 million to 10.3 million.