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Ugandans underfed

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd February 2005 03:00 AM

We have enough foods in Uganda to get the right nutrients but many people do not know how to use them, says Dr Betty Wakou, a nutritional consultant currently working with UNICEF.

We have enough foods in Uganda to get the right nutrients but many people do not know how to use them, says Dr Betty Wakou, a nutritional consultant currently working with UNICEF.

By Catherine Ruhweza

We have enough foods in Uganda to get the right nutrients but many people do not know how to use them, says Dr Betty Wakou, a nutritional consultant currently working with UNICEF.

While in the US the biggest problem is eating too much, leading to obesity, the opposite is true in Uganda. Too many Ugandans are undernourished because they eat poorly.

“The biggest part of our population do not have access to a balance diet because they cannot afford to buy a whole range of foods while others may afford it but they lack the proper knowledge about nutrition,” Wakou says. “Eating a balanced diet means a family has to balance protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetable. You find a home of eight people cannot afford this through out the week.”

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Health has warned about the growing number of obese Ugandans. Wakou says the biggest problem may arise from the sedentary worker who sits in the office all day but feasts on platefuls of carbohydrates and little protein.

“The middle and working class may be in real danger if they do not change their eating habits. They are eating chips, sausages, sodas, ice creams and saturated fats and all these are putting them at high risk of getting cancer, heart disease and obesity,” Wakou says.

She adds that the rich are putting their children at risk by putting them on such diets. In rural areas, poor people tend to sell most of the foods that would have improved their nutrition and they end up being prone to diseases. Another cause of malnutrition is that people tend to over-cook food in this country. Too much cooking reduces the nutritional value of food.

Whether undernourished or over fed, the end result is likely to be illness. The over-fed are prone to obesity and diseases like high blood pressure while the underfed are likely to be stunted, have low immunity and low thinking capacity.

Ugandans underfed

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