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Unformatted text preview: Public Health Nutrition: 11(7), 662–674 doi:10.1017/S1368980007001140 Colonisation, the New World Order, and the eradication of traditional food habits in East Africa: historical perspective on the nutrition transition Verena Raschke 1, *- and Bobby Cheema 2 1 Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria: 2 Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand Submitted 23 November 2006: Accepted 8 August 2007: First published online 24 October 2007 Abstract 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 pro- posing genuine solutions to the nutrition transition and related NCD epidemics throughout this region and, indeed, worldwide. Keywords Tanzania Kenya Uganda Transnational Multinational International Monetary Fund World Bank Since the 1500s, when the imperial powers of Europe sought to rapidly expand their empires through the colonisation of sub-Saharan Africa, ancient indigenous knowledge, including an incredible wealth of knowledge about food habits, health and longevity, has progressively waned 1 . Over the past several centuries, the methods implemented to excise this indigenous knowledge have generally shifted from the use of overt force (e.g. slavery, religious conversion, seizure of arable land and food supply) 2 to the implementation of a neocolonial, politi- cal–economic structure inherently designed to oppress through the creation of economic dependence 3–6 . The deleterious influence of these colonial and neo- colonial forces in sub-Saharan Africa becomes glaringly evident with any legitimate inquiry into the root causes of the various disease epidemics currently afflicting the marginalised, indigenous people of this vast continent 7 ....
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