Currently there is a shift in balance on the major causes of mortality in health. Non communicable diseases are becoming the major cause of mortality in Kenya. Studies in Nairobi show that non communicable diseases account for 53% of hospital admissions contributing to 33% of total mortality. 4.2% of Kenyans are diabetic. This is a conservative figure because almost an equal number are not diagnosed. 12% are hypertensive. The two major risk factors for non-communicable diseases that are related to nutrition are unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. Prolonged exposure to these risk factors can result in diet related non communicable diseases. As evidenced in the 2008 Kenya Demographic Health Survey, obesity and overweight are on the rise with 25% of women in Kenya being either overweight or obese. Urban areas have higher rates with Nairobi having 41%.
Therefore nutrition now has to deal with this double burden of malnutrition. There is under nutrition leading to micro nutrient deficiencies and severe/moderate acute malnutrition and now over nutrition with women, men and children increasingly becoming obese or overweight, exposing them to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some cancers.
Concerted efforts to reverse these trends are now in place globally and within the country. Globally, word health organisation has developed a strategy for healthy diets and physical activity. In Kenya, the Kenya Health Sector Strategic Plan and the Kenya National Food and Nutrition Security Policy outlines “ To halt and reverse the rising trends of non-communicable diseases as one of the objectives”. Towards these efforts, National guidelines for Healthy Diet and Physical Activity have been developed and now other efforts are being put in place to achieve these objectives.
- Review, develop and implement comprehensive strategy and guidelines for prevention, management and control of diet related NCDs
- Capacity building for service providers on prevention, management and control of diet related NCDs
- Create public awareness on the importance of prevention, management and control of diet related NCDs using the national ACSM
- Strengthen coordination mechanisms for healthy diet and lifestyle programs at national and county level
- Strengthen monitoring and evaluation systems for diet related NCDs
Expected outcome: Improved prevention, management and control of diet related NCDs