Monday, October 26, 2020

Botswana to fall short of 2025 nutritional targets – Report

The Global Nutrition Report, says Botswana is one of 88 countries from around the world which are on course to meet zero global nutrition targets.

The report entitled: The 2020 Global Nutrition Report Action on equity to end malnutrition assessed 194 countries from across the globe to determine their progress towards meeting eight 2025 global nutrition targets. Of the 54 African countries, Botswana is among 14 countries that will not meet even one nutritional target.

The 2025 global nutritional targets are: 1. achieve a 50% reduction of anaemia in women of reproductive age, 2. achieve a 40% reduction in the number of children under-5 who are stunted, 3. achieve a 30% reduction in low birth weight; 4. ensure that there is no increase in childhood overweight; 5. increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months up to at least 50%; 6. reduce and maintain childhood wasting to less than 5%, 7. Reduce childhood overweight, adult obesity and 8. Reduce adult diabetes.

The best performing African country is Kenya which is on track to meet 4 nutritional targets. However, Kenya is the only African country on track to meet four targets. Four is the maximum number of targets any country is on track to meet.

Just two years ago, the 2018 Global Nutrition Report placed Botswana in the “burdened” category, which is the worst, where rates of stunting, anaemia and overweight are severe. The 2018 report also highlighted that Botswana has significant multiple forms of malnutrition. As for obesity, the 2020 Global Nutrition report also says more women than men are obese in Botswana. “Large sex gaps in obesity are found in countries in the same regions, most notably Botswana (women 29.3%, men 8.1%, difference 21.2) and South Africa (women 39.6%, men 15.4%, difference 24.2%),” says the report.

The report further states that “in 2017, regions with the highest prevalence of stunting were primarily throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa. In Africa, areas with estimated overweight prevalence greater than 15% were concentrated in North Africa and in parts of Botswana and Zambia.”

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. 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. 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.

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