When the late FTJ introduced a liberalised economy in Zambia under donor influence,little did we know the impact it would have on our waist lines. I left Zambia for 7 years and the first thing I noticed as I walked down Cairo road one morning upon my return was how fat people had become in a very short time frame.
There are 4 times more people living with diabetes mellitus globally than there were 30 years ago.
The International Diabetes Federation estimates that 4.2% of Zambians have diabetes,that is approximately 700 000 people living with diabetes.The number is growing and is projected to worsen if current trends continue.
The growth of the middle class and mushrooming of malls with fast food establishments across the country has contributed to the nutritional transition of Zambians. People joke that “balelila” but should we really embrace the western lifestyle with caution thrown to the wind?
People in developed nations are now realising how bad and unhealthy their lifestyles are. Its the cause of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and some cancers(non communicable diseases)
This problem needs to be tackled by policy makers in curbing the infiltration of transnational companies that promote unhealthy foods( pipe dream but worth mentioning).Physical activity can be promoted at both a national and individual level.For example bringing back neighbourhood parks and walkways. Zambians would do well to stick to traditional nutrient rich foods than eat unhealthy fast foods.
Diabetes mellitus is very expensive to manage and prevention is better than cure. Happy Diabetes Day!