One obvious thing is that not all Western are good and not all African are bad.
The surge of these chronic diseases has been linked to change in people's lifestyle. Traditionally, these diseases are known to be prevalent in developed countries.
For example, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, asthma are often called “lifestyle disease” because they are linked to the way people live their lives.
According to a report by the Malabo Montpellier Panel, children in Africa are taking in high-sugar, energy-dense and processed foods that are cheap in cost but lower in nutrients. Although, the continent has over 233 million hungry people on a daily basis but obesity is still high.
A recent survey by World Health Organisation (WHO) also shows that salt consumption is 60% above daily recommended maximum in Nigeria and South Africa.
On this, a major culprit is the increasing urbanization in many parts of the region. High household income has led to change in dietary patterns. As a result, there is widespread unhealthy diets (food in high fats, sugar and salt).
High tobacco and alcohol consumptions have also become widespread amongst the youth. At a later stage in life, this behaviour resulted into these diseases, increasing the number of people and associated deaths from obesity, high blood sugar (diabetes), respiratory diseases and high blood pressure (hypertension).
The Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a Washington DC based organisation, also raised concerns about the impact of this trend in Africa.
“About one in 10 adolescents in Africa smokes cigarettes and the same proportion use other tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, snuff, or pipes. A half of all adolescents in Africa are exposed to secondhand smoke.”
In the same vein, widespread ignorance of the risks of these chronic diseases is also worsening the situation.
There is a general belief in Africa that being overweight is a sign of good living.
“Some African cultures look at a fat person as a healthy person,” says Dr Mary Amuyunzu-Nyamongo, Coordinator of the Consortium for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) Prevention and Control in the region.