Colonisation, the New World Order, and the eradication of traditional food habits in East Africa: historical perspective on the nutrition transition

Public Health Nutr. 2008 Jul;11(7):662-74. doi: 10.1017/S1368980007001140. Epub 2007 Oct 24.


Objective: To discuss factors which have underpinned the nutrition transition in the countries of East Africa, including Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, from early colonisation to the current, oppressive political-economic structure.

Results: Colonisation and neocolonisation in accordance with the desires of the New World Order have ensured the systematic extirpation of indigenous and traditional food habits in East Africa. These indigenous and traditional food habits, associated with myriad health benefits, have been progressively replaced by the globalised food system of the multinational corporations, a system inherently associated with the creation of non-communicable disease (NCD) epidemics throughout this region and globally. While the simplification of the East African food culture may be most apparent today, the nutrition transition has actually occurred over the past 400 years, since the onset of colonial occupation.

Conclusions: It is imperative that greater efforts be directed towards exposing the colonial and neocolonial forces which have undermined food security and health status in East Africa. Heightened awareness of these forces is essential for proposing genuine solutions to the nutrition transition and related NCD epidemics throughout this region and, indeed, worldwide.

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Eastern
  • Diet / ethnology
  • Diet / trends*
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology*
  • Food Supply / standards*
  • Global Health*
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • United Nations