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Africans are Gaining Weight at an Alarming Rate

Every Wednesday women in villages around Monze, Zambia, meet to swap recipes. Tables are lined up in a shady spot, covered in fluorescent mats and piled with tupperware. Each dish is introduced alongside its health benefits: porridge with moringa powder is perfect for babies, groundnut butter is for “bodybuilding”. When three types of soyabean sausages are presented there is a pause and much laughter. These are to “build the family”. The meetings aim to prevent undernourishment. Seemingly paradoxically, they also aim to prevent obesity by showing farmers a variety of goods they can cook without venturing to shops stocked with processed food. Allan Mulando, from the UN’s World Food Programme, which helps organise the meet-ups, points to a small tray of local produce. “Everything required is here,” he says.