In Ghana, we cannot build the road infrastructure like the west, transportation is nothing like it, basic amenities, nope, but we were able to quickly emulate the junk food craze and the obesity rate rise that comes with it.
When I was younger and used to come to Ghana on holiday, junk food consisted of fried yam and turkey tail and it would be shared between all the kids in the house. This consistedof my 3 male cousins, 3 female cousins and 2 sisters. Fast food would be eaten at the local chop bar, your choices were fufu and goat meat light soup, waakye, jollof rice or banku and tilapia, basically foods that you were likely to eat at home (although the chop bar food always seemed tastier).
The big supermarkets like Max Mart and Shoprite didn’t exist, there was Koala but that was too far and too expensive. So all food shopping was done in the open market, there were no food stalls, no ice cream van, and you would be so busy battling the flies, all you would want at the end of the day is go home and sleep.
Today there are smoothie stores, burger bars, kebab, chinese, and then there’s the malls, with places to eat that will send you into a diabetic coma.
I remember speaking to a friend on the phone once and all I could here is “daddy, I want ice-cream”, although he reminded them he was on the phone, the kids would not relent until their father finally stopped to get them the ice cream. This was not a rare treat, this was a regular occurrence and it shows, all three children between the ages of 6 and 12 are overweight and destined for obesity and all the health problems that come with it.
Here, the further the people climb up the ladder it seems, the more they spoil their children, they give them whatever they want just because they can. Unfortunately, it is the children that will suffer later on with asthma, heart problems, diabetes, cholesterol. It’s not about giving your child the best in life, it’s borderline child abuse. Don’t get me wrong, a child should be given a treat once in a while, but it should be a treat, not a way of life. I travelled from Accra to Akosombo with a young family once. Between the one destination to the other the child had chocolaten, crisps, plaintain chips and ice-cream and still found space for dinner. I was full up just watching her. Plus the little girl is quite heavy with asthma. Now I may not be qualified to say how to raise anybody’s child and it is easy for me to get on my high horse but some health issues can be avoided just by eating the right food.
I remember my best friend telling me a story of her visit to the cinema with her uncle and brother. They had not finished dinner because they were so excited and when they got to the movie theatre they asked for popcorn. Uncle whips out a tupperware with their left-over meal and tells them no they should finish their rice. Ok so a bit of extreme going the other way.
I hope if God bless’ me with a husband and kidee, that he will also give me good judgement in raising my child and I can get the balance right.
Definitely getting off that horse now.