Health | National

African youth urged to adopt healthy eating habits

African youths have been urged to adopt healthy eating habits. The advice was given during a roundtable discussion at the Gambia Nutrition Agency (NaNA).

Dr Gloria Folson, a nutritionist with the University of Ghana, called upon the youth of Africa to embrace healthy eating habits.

Her speech marked the commencement of the 2024 African Day celebrations, an event organised by the Africa Catalyzing Action For Nutrition (AfriCAN).

Speaking to youth groups and a group of African journalists in the Dr Isatou Jallow Hall, Dr Folson emphasised the critical importance of good nutrition for the health and well-being of future generations. "Our dietary choices today will shape the health landscape of tomorrow," she stated. "It's imperative that the youth understand the long-term implications of their eating habits and take proactive steps to ensure a healthier future for themselves and their communities."

Dr Folson highlighted the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity across the continent.

She pointed out that these conditions are often linked to poor dietary habits among the youthful population. "By prioritising nutritious foods and balanced diets, we can significantly reduce the incidence of these diseases and promote a healthier, more productive society," she said.

The event, attended by various stakeholders in the nutrition and health sectors, served as a platform for discussing strategies to improve nutritional awareness and practices among African youth. Dr Folson's address underscored several key points:

Education and Awareness: Dr Folson called for increased efforts to educate young people about the benefits of good nutrition. She advocated for integrating nutrition education into school curricula and community programmes to ensure a widespread understanding of healthy eating principles.

Accessibility to Nutritious Foods: She stressed the need for policies that make healthy foods more accessible and affordable for all. "We must work towards creating an environment where nutritious options are readily available, especially in rural and under-served areas," she remarked.

Cultural Relevance: Recognising the diverse cultural contexts across Africa, Dr Folson emphasised the importance of promoting traditional diets that are naturally rich in nutrients. "Many indigenous foods are incredibly healthy and should be incorporated into our daily diets," she noted.

Role of Technology: Dr Folson highlighted the potential of technology and social media in spreading nutritional information and inspiring positive dietary changes among the youth. She encouraged leveraging digital platforms to reach a wider audience with effective health messages.

The roundtable discussion featured contributions from other experts and youth representatives, who shared their insights and experiences. The dialogue aimed to foster a collaborative approach to tackling nutritional challenges and to mobilize collective action towards better health outcomes.

As part of the African Day 2024 celebrations, AfriCAN and the Gambia Nutrition Agency [NaNA] organised various activities designed to engage the community and promote healthy living. These included workshops, cooking demonstrations, and health screenings, all aimed at raising awareness about the importance of nutrition.

In her concluding remarks, Dr Folson reiterated her call to action: "The youth are the future of Africa. By adopting healthy eating habits today, you are not only investing in your health but also in the health and prosperity of generations to come."

The event was a resounding success, setting the stage for ongoing efforts to improve nutrition across the continent and highlighting the vital role that young people play in driving this change.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.

DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.