The World Health Organsisation (WHO) says Kenyan children are among the most overweight in Africa whilst UNICEF report that Kenya also has a high number of children with stunted growth due to lack of food. How can this be?
The WHO says Kenya is facing an obesity crisis due to a shift towards the consumption of food that is high in calories but low in nutritional value, and the situation is getting worse.
UNICEF meanwhile reports that about 24 percent of Kenyan children suffer from stunted growth due to a lack of food.
Obesity Ticking Time Bomb
“Being obese or overweight raises the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases and diabetes” the WHO warns, “as well as muscular and skeletal disorders [and] some types of cancer”.
“Among children, being overweight is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death and disability in adulthood”, says the WHO’s regional Director in Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti.
“Africa is facing a growing problem of obesity and overweight” stated Dr Moeti, “and the trends are rising. This is a ticking time bomb”.
Overweight and Obese Children in Kenya
Research by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey supports the WHO’s message, finding that some 18 percent of Kenyan children are overweight and a further four percent obese.
The growing obesity problem is not helped by the fact that ‘fat’ parents tend to pass on to their children their own bad eating practices.
Obesity is increased by the consumption of energy-dense foods and lack of exercise.
So, approximately one-in-five Kenyan children are fat and getting fatter at the same time as one-in-four do not have enough food to eat.