Nutrition Transition in Africa: Consequences and Opportunities

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Teresia Mbogori
Winnie Mucherah

Abstract

Nutrition transition, defined as a shift in dietary patterns and energy expenditure, is a major concern worldwide and especially in low and middle-income countries. Nutrition transition is linked to an increased prevalence of metabolic disorders and non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In regions such as the sub-Saharan Africa, prevalence of overweight and obesity has steadily increased in the recent years despite the high prevalence of hunger and malnutrition. Factors that have contributed to nutrition transition include urbanization, socio-economic developments and technological advancements. Food consumption in some households has shifted to diets rich in fats and oils, calorie-based sweeteners, and animal-based products high in saturated fats (referred to as “western diets”), from traditional African diets based on legumes, whole grain products and traditional vegetables.  Opportunities to slow down the effects of nutrition transition in Africa may exist through education and policy changes that are culturally sensitive.  

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Author Biographies

Teresia Mbogori, Ball State University

Teresia Mbogori is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

Winnie Mucherah, Ball State University

Winnie Mucherah is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.