The impact of rural-to-urban migration on the sustainability of urban diets in sub-Saharan Africa

Global obesity is reported to have reached epidemic proportions, with urbanisation – the increased movement of people from rural areas to urban areas – being cited as one of the driving factors for this trend. It has also been reported that ‘diseases of affluence’ (or non-communicable diseases) like diabetes and hypertension, which have historically been more prominent in more ‘urbanised’ countries are now a leading cause of death in middle- and low-income countries.

These changes in the pattern of disease are particularly relevant in the developing economies of sub-Saharan Africa, where accelerated economic growth is fuelling rapid urbanisation.

This study will look at how the migration of people from Uganda’s rural to urban areas has changed what and how people eat, and consequently, the impact of these changes on how healthy the diets are. This study will also assess how environmentally sustainable these dietary changes are. Data will be collected on dietary patterns between rural and urban areas, people’s attitudes towards the gradual shift from ‘traditional’ to more ‘westernised’ diets, and the impact of both diet types on greenhouse gas emissions.

Information from this study will be fundamental in informing the policy process towards creating a more sustainable Ugandan food system in the future.


What Can Dietary Patterns Tell Us about the Nutrition Transition and Environmental Sustainability of Diets in Uganda?

DOI: 10.3390/nu11020342

Carolyn Auma



Dr Megan Blake

Department of Geography