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World Obesity Day 2021:  Experts call on stakeholders and the government to address the increasing prevalence of obesity in Nigeria

Medical Health and Nutrition professionals in Nigeria have expressed concern over the growing prevalence of obesity and overweight in the country. This was done at an online conference to mark the 2021 World Obesity Day, themed “Everybody needs everybody”, which was organised by the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) in Lagos.

Present at the conference were representatives from several organizations aimed at improving the nutrition situation in the country. These include representatives for Exercise is Medicine (EIM), Consumer Advocacy for Food Safety and Nutrition (CAFSANI), Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) and Project Healthy Kids. Choices International and NCD Alliance Nigeria opened the event with goodwill messages highlighting the importance of addressing obesity as well as malnutrition in other forms.

Several issues were raised as likely causes of this increase in obesity including schools being located in areas that do not encourage physical activities and the use of recess time in schools to study. Low consumption of fruits and vegetables among the population and reduced physical activity among adolescents and market women were also listed as the reasons for the upsurge.

The members at the conference however went on to offer solutions to end this steady rise in obesity. Establishing weight loss programmes, encouraging physical activity among children and reducing carbohydrate, sugar and fat consumption among members of the population were some of the solutions tendered. It was also suggested that the population be sensitised and educated on food safety and healthy eating.

Generally, the majority of the conference members called on the government to enact and implement policies and programmes on physical exercise and healthy diets to combat the risk of obesity and overweight posed to the Nigerian population. The government was also called to control the borders from where unsafe food items are gaining entry into the country. Read more here.

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