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Extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a barrier to sustainable development – Nutritionist

A Nutritionist Mr. Divine Elichophie has stated that extreme hunger and malnutrition remain a barrier to sustainable development and create a trap from which people cannot easily escape.

According to him, people who are hungry and malnourished are less likely to be productive and are more susceptible to diseases and thus often unable to earn a sufficient income and improve their livelihoods. “The issue of malnutrition must be taken seriously because if you don’t eat well you cannot live well to contribute to the country’s productivity,’’ he said.

He said a world with no hunger can positively impact the country’s economy, health, education, equality and social development adding that added it is a key piece of building a better future for everyone, adding that “We are what we eat and people should be conscious of what goes into their stomachs.”

Additionally, with hunger limiting human development, Mr Divine said the country will not be able to achieve other global goals on education, health and gender equality without addressing the issue of hunger. He attributed malnutrition to poverty, illiteracy, taboos, gender disparity and food belief system.

He said women are the one group most affected by hunger and malnutrition, representing 46.4 percent of victims compared to 6.4 percent of men. This was a matter of urgency, he continued.

Mr Elichopie however stated the country can end malnutrition to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 1 through various government initiatives such as school feeding programs, planting for food and jobs among others.

He also called for personal hygiene and general education on the importance of nutrition. The Ghana Nutrition Profile reveals Ghana still experiences a malnutrition burden among its under-five population, although it performs well against other developing countries.
It indicates that the national prevalence of under-five overweight is 2.6 percent which has increased slightly from 2.5 percent in 2011.

The national prevalence of under-five stunting is 18.8 percent, which is less than the developing country average of 25 percent.

It further states that Ghana’s under-five wasting prevalence of 4.7 percent is also less than the developing country average of 8.9 percent.

In Ghana, 52.1 percent of infant under 23 months are exclusively breastfed, this is well above the West Africa average of 30.8 percent, it added.

Ghana’s 2015 low birth weight prevalence of 14.2 percent has decreased slightly from 14.3 percent in 2014, meanwhile, 16.6 percent of women and 4.5 percent of men have obesity.

By: Lilian D. Walter

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