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Ghanaians die early -Due to poor eating habits

By The Statesman

The lack of proper eating habits, coupled with inadequate exercise as well as lack of regular medical check ups, has been identified as prime factors contributing to the radical decline in the life expectancy rate of Africans and Ghanaians in particular, according to deputy Minister of Health Abraham Dwuma Odoom.

At the media launch of the 2nd annual International Health Fair in Kumasi, the deputy health minister noted that as a result of bad and unplanned eating behaviours, most Ghanaians shorten their lifespan by close to ten years and if absolute care was not taken, such development could affect and undermines government's long term development programmes.

"Life expectancy rate in Ghana according to the World Health Organisation, has dropped from between 63 [men] and 68 [women] years to between 54 and 62 years. "This is so not because nature has been cruel or rejected us but because of the way we go about our eating. We do not care about our eating pattern and we are paying dearly for that', he stressed.

The one-week health fair will commence on Sunday, 12 to 19 October, 2008 and is being held under the theme, 'Join the healthy people to renew your strength for a fresh breath of life.' It is aimed at showcasing preventive and curative health alternatives to Ghanaians.

The annual International Health Fair, which attracts companies and organisations related to health issues, focuses on fast tracking growing innovations within the health industry to enhance quality product and service delivery to meet international standards and to contribute efficiently to national development projects on health.

The deputy health minister said the fair, which is in its second year, was intended to encourage Ghanaians to practise healthy lifestyles. It was also expected to promote the preventive benefits of regular exercise, proper dietary choices and showcase products and services which would provide an opportunity for corporate bodies to reach out to the public.

According to Mr. Odoom, the fair would also undertake free screening and treatment of all kinds to about 60,000 people while activities including a fitness competition, seminars for exhibitors, and any other health entertainment activities that might be relevant to promoting goods and services, would be carried on to ensure a successful fair.

Topics to be treated at the weeklong event include food safety- from farm to your mouth, fun time or death time - alcohol, tobacco and drugs, boosting your sexual performance the natural way and foetal alcohol syndrome.

Others also include identifying and managing the stress in your life, what you should know about prostrate cancer and cervical cancer.

The Ashanti regional Director of Health Services, Mohammed Ibn Ibrahim said it was important for Ghanaians to live meaningful lifestyles and not do anything that could have a negative effect on government's determination to ensure massive human resource development in the country.

He further said there was the urgent need for Ghanaians to help reduce the financial burdens on the National Health Insurance Scheme by leading more responsible lifestyle.

He urged all to develop the habit of exercising at least three times a week, drink more water - at least eight glasses a day - and also eat more fruits to stay healthy always.