|Overweight and obesity epidemic in Ghana -- a systematic review and meta-analysis|
||Richard Ofori-Asenso, Akosua Adom Agyeman, Amos Laar, and Daniel Boateng
||BMC Public Health, 16:1239; DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3901-4
||Background: In many low and middle income countries (LMICs), the distribution of adulthood nutritional
imbalance is shifting from a predominance of undernutrition to overnutrition. This complex problem poses a
huge challenge to governments, non-state actors, and individuals desirous of addressing the problem of
malnutrition in LMICs. The objective of this study was to systematically review the literature towards providing an
estimate of the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adult Ghanaians.
Methods: This study followed the recommendations outlined in the PRISMA statement. Searches were performed in
PubMed, Science Direct, google scholar, Africa Journals Online (AJOL) and the WHO African Index Medicus database.
This retrieved studies (published up to 31st March 2016) that reported overweight and obesity prevalence among
Ghanaians. All online searches were supplemented by reference screening of retrieved papers to identify additional
Results: Forty-three (43) studies involving a total population of 48,966 sampled across all the ten (10) regions of Ghana
were selected for the review. Our analysis indicates that nearly 43% of Ghanaian adults are either overweight or obese.
The national prevalence of overweight and obesity were estimated as 25.4% (95% CI 22.2–28.7%) and 17.1% (95% CI =
14.7–19.5%), respectively. Higher prevalence of overweight (27.2% vs 16.7%) and obesity (20.6% vs 8.0%) were
estimated for urban than rural dwellers. Prevalence of overweight (27.8% vs 21.8%) and obesity (21.9% vs 6.0%) were
also significantly higher in women than men. About 45.6% of adult diabetes patients in Ghana are either overweight or
obese. At the regional level, about 43.4%, 36.9%, 32.4% and 55.2% of residents in Ashanti, Central, Northern and Greater
Accra region, respectively are overweight or obese. These patterns generally mimic the levels of urbanization. Per
studies’ publication years, consistent increases in overweight and obesity prevalence were observed in Ghana in the
Conclusions: There is a high and rising prevalence of overweight and obesity among Ghanaian adults. The possible
implications on current and future population health, burden of chronic diseases, health care spending and broader
economy could be enormous for a country still battling many infectious and parasitic diseases. Public health preventive
measures that are appropriate for the Ghanaian context, culturally sensitive, cost-effective and sustainable are urgently
needed to tackle this epidemic.
Keywords: Obesity, Nutrition transition, Non-communicable diseases, Ghana, Meta-analysis