Professor Felix Ankomah Asante, Director, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research on Friday identified poor eating habits as one of the major causes of diseases in humans.
Professor Felix Ankomah Asante, Director, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, delivering his Inaugural Lecture on the topic, “The Linkage between Agriculture, Nutrition and Health: Issues for Research and Policy,” at the University of Ghana (UG), said, there was the need for stakeholders to take a keen look at the linkage between agriculture, nutrition and health.
He noted that food systems often concentrated on quantity, but did not pay much attention to the quality of food being taken in by people, with particular attention to their specific health and nutritional needs.
Prof Asante noted, that non-communicable diseases, which could be addressed through good nutrition, were fast becoming responsible for deaths across the world.
He said the effects of poor nutrition, posed a great challenge to Africa with a number of negative effects on individuals, families and the entire socio-economic parlance.
“One in 10 people fall ill yearly from contaminated food, resulting in 42,000 deaths, a third being children under five years,” Prof Asante added.
He said food borne diseases such as typhoid, was highest in Africa, due to poor hygiene and inadequate food preparation conditions.
“Agricultural water projects can also create parasitic vectors, leading to diseases,” he said; adding that, malaria for example, had part of its roots from agricultural water projects, and was responsible for a significant number of deaths annually.
Prof Asante noted that, to effectively promote good health through paying more attention to food consumption, there was the need for stakeholders to come together, and brainstorm towards the formulation of workable policies.
He said there was the need to identify food production systems with a view of ensuring, that these systems absolutely promoted safe and good nutrition and in effect, good health.
Prof Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana and Chairman for the occasion, said whilst agriculture, health and nutrition had always been treated as separate topics, even within institutions of learning, these topics were linked when it came to the role they played in promoting good health.
He said food was meant to sustain life and not to destroy it, and it was important that policy makers, as well as stakeholders ensured the highest level of food safety attainable.
The programme was organised by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana-Legon.