Lady Julia leads campaign for consumption of local food

Lady Julia Osei Tutu, wife of the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has described as worrying the over-reliance on foreign and imported fruit, to the neglect of the country’s natural and organic foods needed by many Ghanaians to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

She said it is unfortunate that modern lifestyles “have taken hold, with some people over-relying on foods with questionable nutritional values in the interest of saving time while others take to nine-day-wonder dietary practices devoid of adequate physical activity”.

She said that reliable information is the cornerstone of good nutrition, good health and long life, and noted regrettably that poor nutrition choices have become the norm rather than the exception in most Ghanaians meals today.

Lady Julia, who was speaking at this year’s Lady Julia Osei Tutu Annual Nutrition Forum in Kumasi, said her vision is to work toward ensuring that every Ghanaian meal is prepared and presented with a background of solid nutritional information.

To achieve this, she said, it is critical to make readily available the nutritional values of local foods and encourage as many Ghanaians as possible to patronise local produce.

She announced earlier that as a result of last year’s forum, the Coca Cola Company is supporting the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition at the Ghana Health Service to produce national dietary guidelines for feeding people with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

She is hopeful that the next project at the Department of Dietetics will be guidelines on the nutritional value of local foods.

She commended the Coca Cola company for its partnership and support, which she said has been fundamental to the programme’s success and sustainability.

She observed that media coverage on nutrition and wellbeing has been low, and therefore also charged the media to devote much time and coverage to these important health developments.

This year’s forum was held under the theme ‘Moderation and Exercise, Essential Ingredients in Maintaining a Balanced and Healthy Lifestyle’.

Other key speakers at the forum included Professor Agyemang Badu Akossah; Madam Ruby Arthur, Principal Dietician, Ridge Hospital; Dr. Samuel Kaba, Director ICD, Ghana Health Service (GHS) and others who took turns to take participants at the forum through healthy eating practices and exercises.

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