Sunday, March 3, 2024

Botswana has stunting, obesity and anaemia problems

The Global Nutrition Report places Botswana in a category where rates of stunting, anaemia and overweight are severe. According to the report Botswana has significant multiple forms of malnutrition and is categorised in the ‘burdened’ category which is the worst category.

A country is considered ‘burdened’ by a malnutrition indicator depending on whether the national prevalence was greater than a certain cut-off. In the report, stunting was measured in children aged under 5 and its burden limit was 20% or more. Anaemia among women of reproductive age (15–49 years) had the same 20% or more cut-off, and for overweight women (18+) this was 35% or more.

This report comes following another report released by the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa, indicating that Botswana is struggling with an obesity problem and the trend has been progressively increasing in both children and adults.According to the journal the prevalence of obesity among females is way much higher as compared to the males. The female obesity prevalence as a share of female ages 18+ is currently at 31.1 whilst male obesity prevalence as a share of male population ages 18+ is 10.2. Since 2016, both male and female prevalence grew at an average annual rate of 2.08%.Obesity or overweight is a condition whereby a person has abnormal or excessive fat accumulation which poses a risk to the health and well-being of that person. People who are overweight have a higher chance of early death in adulthood.

Stunting is also a strong indicator of inadequate child growth and development, reflecting chronic lack of nutrition, care and general health. Children under five years of age are considered stunted when their height-for-age is two standard deviations below WHO’s 2006 child-growth standards. By WHO standards, a country is designated as having a public health threat related to stunting if at least 20 percent of its children are stunted.

Stunting is caused by long-term inadequate dietary intake and continuing bouts of infection and disease, often beginning with maternal malnutrition, which leads to poor foetal growth, low birth weight and poor growth. Stunting causes permanent impairment to cognitive and physical development that can lower educational attainment and reduce adult income.

Countries where 20 percent or more of the adult population are obese (equivalent to the global median prevalence for that indicator) are considered to be facing a public health threat related to obesity. Adults over 20 years of age are considered obese when their body mass index (BMI) is greater than or equal to 30. BMI equals body weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. The overweight and obese impose economic costs on society directly through increased health care spending and indirectly through reduced economic productivity.


Read this week's paper