Measuring the healthiness of Ghanaian children’s food environments to prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases
Programas y alianzas
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent the leading cause of death globally and were responsible for 70% of the world's 56 million deaths in 2015. In some African countries, NCDs cause more than 50% of all reported adult deaths. In Ghana, that figure was 44%.Más información
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent the leading cause of death globally and were responsible for 70% of the world's 56 million deaths in 2015. In some African countries, NCDs cause more than 50% of all reported adult deaths. In Ghana, that figure was 44%. In recognition of this increasing burden, Ghana has published a national NCD prevention policy and accompanying strategy, which recognize interventions to promote healthy diets as crucial. Specifically, there are recent indications from local policymakers in Ghana that tackling unhealthy food promotion and improving food provision would be the most likely actions to address the problem of obesity and NCD risk factors, especially in children and adolescents.
These policymakers, however, acknowledge that food environment-related responses to NCD prevention are hampered by scarce resources, paucity of data, and lack of appropriate policies and interventions in Ghana. Focusing on restricting unhealthy food marketing to children and improving school nutrition environments, this project will adapt approaches developed by the International Network for Food and Obesity NCDs Research Monitoring and Action Support for Ghana to measure, benchmark, and support public sector actions that create healthy food marketing and provision environments for children and adolescents.
This speech advocates for the engagement of young people in changing food systems. If Governments introduce policy measures that serve to restrict the promotion of unhealthy foods (for example, foods high in added sugars/sugar sweetened beverages, salt, saturated fats, trans fatty acids) to consumers/children; then production, processing, importation, marketing, or promotion of these unhealthy foods will be reduced making them less available. Food systems must inspire public confidence; they must prevent undernutrition and work with principles in mind: People; Planet; Prosperity.
The food security and nutritional status of vulnerable population groups is likely to deteriorate further due to the health and socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Undernutrition coupled with the effects of climate change affects food production and consumption patterns, as well as overall development. In response to calls for partnership and collaboratively delivered solutions, the Food Systems Summit (September, 2021) has been convened. The Summit will articulate actionable, integrated plans for food systems transformation. This working paper provides an overview of the summit.
The forum created an opportunity to validate findings of the Stories of Change research initiative from the School of Public Health (University of Ghana) and to disseminate nutrition and food environment research and advocacy initiatives. Key research findings of studies shared at the Forum have contributed to increased evidence on stunting and anaemia and the food environment in Ghana, and a commitment towards change that will address food policy at the national level.
Analysis covering the period 1980–2015, reveals >500% increase in prevalence of adult obesity in Ghana. The presentation reviews background information and statistics, countermeasures and activities, such as government policies (including ‘policy inertia’), research capacity building, implementation (and non-implementation) of recommended best practices, and current efforts at reducing promotion of unhealthy foods.
The presentation breaks down components of a healthy food environment that could help improve policy and practice. It provides descriptions of factors that can influence dietary transition, with implications for policy. The MEALS4NCDs project (Providing Measurement, Evaluation Accountability & Leadership Support for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention) current focus is to support public sector actions that create healthy food environments for Ghanaian children, for instance, restricting unhealthy food marketing to children and improving school nutrition environments.