Obesity Was Rising as Ghana Embraced Fast Food. Then Came KFC.
The growing popularity of fried chicken and pizza in parts of Africa underscores how fast food is changing habits and expanding waistlines. The NY Times published a great article exposing what is happening to countries as fast food takes hold. You can access the entire article here. It’s a brillant read, including a table showing which countries are adopting fast food at a rapid pace.
In Ghana, the changing diet — including fast food and processed foods — has led to soaring health risks.
The death rate associated with high body mass index more than doubled in Ghana from roughly 14 per 100,000 in 1990 to 40 per 100,000, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — and is fast approaching the global average of 54 deaths per 100,000.
The introduction of fast food and the changing diet has led to health risks that are getting worse at a rate faster than in the United States. From 1990 to 2015, deaths related to high body mass increased 179 percent in Ghana, compared to an increase of 20 percent in the United States.
KFC has beome a trendy new place for Ghanaians eat, almost as though it’s a status symbol. As one customer said, “You become addicted to the spices.” “That’s why everybody wants to have it.”
“They don’t force us to eat here,” he added, “But it’s as if we’ve become mentally enslaved. It tantalizes us by even saying it, pulling you to where you don’t want to be.”
Wow, mentally enslaved by the addictive taste of fast food ingredients. How very sad indeed!