Just like their South African and Kenyan, counterparts, an average Ghanaian woman is perceived to be on the big side on specific parts of the body like the burst, legs, arms and the buttocks. Over time, it has been ascertained that the Coca Cola bottle does not best describe the typical Ghanaian feminine ideal shape, with a minimum of B-cup size burst, a sizeable belly, and large hips with bigger butts and fat legs or thighs.
Although, some set of people believe that Ghanaian women most especially are on the big side or have excess body fat because they consume more starchy and oily food which stores in some specific areas of their body due to lack of exercise.
In a brief chat with Dr. Gatey, a gynecologist at the Ridge Hospital in Accra (Ghana), he said their body shape is mainly attributed to genetics like the way Asians tend to be small, while the Germans are taller and the Indians to be hairier. He disputed the fact that their body shape can’t solely be based on the fact that they tend to consume a lot of carbohydrates than other African women because the slim women also eat the same thing they do. He added that it has not been proven medically or scientifically that their shape is as a result of what they eat.
Traditionally in Ghana, some mothers also believe that the wearing of beads on the waist, arm and the legs of their female children will help keep the body in shape as they grow, by keeping the waist small, so that the hips are more pronounced.
Mrs. Rhinda Onyameh, a banker, said female children were worn waist beads to help prevent fat from going to the belly but to the hips, buttocks and the legs.
While Mrs. Theophilus added that culturally, the beads were worn by the women to differentiate them from the male folks because they both tie cloths either around their waists or chests, as their culture demands.
However, those that believe their big size is as a result of too much intake of starchy or oily food revealed that the waist beads are used as a measure to control weight gain, as a result of tightening of the beads around the waist helps to signal it’s time to cut down the fufu, banku and kenkey.
To ascertain whether the above points were true or not, Encomium Weekly spoke with Mrs. Cecilia Kpoti Akrah, a dietician with over 30 years working experience at the Lapaz Community Hospital, and she said majority of Ghanaian women don’t eat in a healthy way with the belief that when they over eat it will help increase the size of their buttocks and allow clothes to fit perfectly on them. She was quick to add that it’s a big mistake most women make which poses a threat to their health.
She added that Ghanaian women need to be educated on weight gain, and the need for regular exercise so as to enable easy digest of food and going to appropriate places. She, however, said some are genetically inclined and nothing much can be done about it, except those that are obese and can only be advised on how to live and eat healthy to avoid sudden death as a result of high blood pressure.
When she was asked if it’s true the food is mainly the cause of their big size ,she said it depends on the food, like lots of sugar intake and soft drinks help gain weight because they are empty calories. Concerning the beads too, she said she can’t talk much about it because she doesn’t really have her facts on that topic, but disputed the that the beads can help reduce excess weight gain.
-ADEBUKOLA ADENEYE- EDAH