The epidemiology of obesity in ghana

Ghana Med J. 2005 Sep;39(3):82-5.


Summary background: Obesity is a very important risk factor to many diseases especially type 2 diabetes. However very little epidemiological information is available in Ghana to support intervention activities.

Methodology: Anthropometric measurements were included in a WHO nationwide survey of health status and health system responsiveness from a random sample of 5000 adults aged 18 years and older.

Results: Prevalence of obesity was found to be 5.5% and higher among females 7.4% compared to males 2.8%. It was more common among the married than unmarried. Obesity was highest among the employed compared to self-employed or the not working for pay. Obesity was highest in Greater Accra 16.1% and virtually not present in Upper East or Upper West regions. By ethnicity, obesity was highest among Ga Adangbe, Ewes and Akans 14.6%, 6.6% and 6.0% respectively. Obesity was found to be less among those smoking daily than those who did not smoke. However, respondents who consumed alcohol had high proportion of overweight or obesity. The obese had less physical activity-days per week than the rest. Respondents with history of angina, or having been diagnosed with diabetes or taking insulin or blood sugar lowering medications were more obese than the others without history of the above conditions.

Conclusion: We urge for increased awareness, and promotion of healthy life style, including exercising and general healthy living.