By Nozipho Sibiya | 2018-02-13
FOOD and Agriculture Organisation has donated E1.5 million to two ministries, health and agriculture to conduct an assessment on the prevalence of obesity and their determinants survey.
The survey will commence in the Manzini region today and the selected team is expected to spend 15 days on the field.
The survey will provide scientific evidence on the prevalence of overweight and obesity as well as their contributory factors in Swazi children aged six – 19 years of age as well as feeding patterns of women 20 to 49 years of age.
The survey was officially launched by the Director of Health Dr Vusi Magagula at the Ministry of Agriculture yesterday.
During the press conference, Magagula said the ministry is faced with a double burden of disease as a result of communicable diseases such as HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He said they also were faced with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and cancers, which if left untreated result in debilitating complications such as amputations, stroke, blindness and other life threatening complications.
“Children and adolescents are our future generation therefore it is important to contain and prevent them from risks which may result in them having these life threatening NCDs in the future,” he said.
Magagula said the country is facing a new public health challenge in the form of overweight and obesity which has been demonstrated to be increasing.
“FAO has reported that obesity is 20 per cent among Swazi children,” he said.
The director said being overweight or obese in childhood and adolescence may lead to diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer later on in life.
“Even children who may have been stunted and underweight during infancy may result in full blown non communicable diseases once that child is exposed to sufficient food later in life.
Magagula then highlited contributing factors to obesity stating that at community level socioeconomic status, educational status, the amount of money available for a family have an impact on the overweight and obesity status of an individual child and adolescent.
“Genetic factors whereby obesity runs in the family may also be a contributing factor.
Choices made by children when eating such as the preference for fried foods are also causes for overweight and obesity in children.”
He also mentioned that adverts from mass media including prolonged periods of indulging in television viewing, being transported to schools are also major contributing factors for obesity in children.
“May I further acknowledge FAOs contribution to the ministry of health in supporting the survey as well as the ministry of agriculture as a key partner in the food and security sector,” he thanked. Thus, the results from this survey will enable government to develop policies and targeted interventions aimed at reducing obesity amongst children in Swaziland.
Communities are therefore encouraged and urged to kindly cooperate with the data collectors who will be conducting this exercise.
The collectors will be identified with a name tags, there will be caring a letter signed by the authority of that region and will be travelling in white cars with government registrations.
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