Health experts are asking persons who are obese to seek medical advice before embarking on any weight loss or diet journey.

Current research on obesity in Ghana by authors Richard Ofori-Asenso, Akosua Adom Agyeman, Amos Laar, and Daniel Boateng revealed 55 per cent of residents in the Greater Accra region are overweight or obsess.

The percentage in the Ashanti region is 43, and 32 per cent of those in the Northern region are either overweight or obese.

The study, titled – Overweight and obesity epidemic in Ghana — a systematic review and meta-analysis, also noted serious implications on the country’s healthcare system and productivity.

Addressing the issue on the Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Dr Yaw Sarfo of MediCAS hospital, who describes obesity as a genetic, lifestyle modern and nutritional problem, believes persons who are obese should check their pre-medical conditions.

“You may be eating right, but you may be putting on weight. There are other medicines that sometimes we doctors put patients on that cause them to put on weight.

“Some of them are steroid medication. So we need to do a thorough evaluation, take a medical history and take a good family history, then get to know about that before any weight journey is embarked on,” he said.

Despite this, some persons who shared their weight loss journey express worry about how they have tried ‘everything’, yet they seem not to see any positive impact on their weight.

One man said, “my height is 6.8, and my weight is 120. I tried my best to be in shape and to eat well, but anything I eat, it doesn’t go well with me.”

He may not be the only person but others too who called in shared stories of how they have been successful at their weight loss journey.’

Narrating how she made it, this woman said, “when I know I have put on weight, I go on what I call the Daniel fast. I dedicate about a month or 40 days to taking only vegetables.

“I don’t eat any carbohydrates or protein or anything. I only take vegetables.”

Excited about how the results make her feel, she proudly stated, “and within 30 days, I am down and back to where I want to be.” 

Another man who eagerly shared his story revealed, “I wasn’t eating any heavy food after 7 pm. Instead, I did some exercise and stomach exercises. I didn’t joke with melon and orange juice, and I also took a lot of water before and after sleep.”

His journey involved lots of disciplined activities, including this he said, “anytime I wake up, I make sure I do some 10 to 20 minutes of walking and exercising.”

His result is that he sees a drastic weight loss within two to three months, which makes him glad.  

But if obesity has become a lifestyle, difficult to work on, what can be done bearing in mind that it is an excessive fat accumulation that took time to build and needs time to work on.

Because it can create other health problems, including heart and kidney failure, the Nutritionist, Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Manager at Nestlé Ghana Limited, Dr Margaret Mary Tohouenou, offered some tidbits on dealing with the situation.

First, she urged persons in that situation not to put pressure on themselves by “trying several options including keto and Daniel diet and all that.”

The adverse is that “you might be preventing the consumption of specific types of food groups in the promotion of another, but that may not bring in the total nutrition that you need for your body to perform as much as it is expected.’  She echoes ‘consult professionals before embarking on any such journey because one thing which works for one person may not help another considering the genetic differences.”

Dr Tohouenou doesn’t want people to put pressure on themselves with unrealistic goals of aiming to “see results in a very short time.” 

Don’t start dieting, and “in a week or month, you want to lose five kilos. If you a losing 500 grams every week, it makes a lot of sense.”

Before starting such a journey, one objective is to be consistent in what an obese person sets out to do.

Dr Tohouenou wants such a person to “come up with the minutes you want to do every week if you want to exercise. If you are dieting make sure it is a balanced diet. Sleep well too.

“One important thing to remember is that‘all these go together in making you maintain weight so that you don’t become overweight or obese.’

On a last note, Dr. Tohouenou wants persons with obesity to “increase physical activities and be mindful of what you eat.”

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