Urbanisation is changing the landscape of health and nutrition in Africa and in Nigeria this relates to lower levels of stunting among children and higher rates of obesity among women Picture: Pixabay

Urbanisation is changing the landscape of health and nutrition in Africa and in Nigeria this relates to lower levels of stunting among children and higher rates of obesity among women, studies by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) show.

Over the last two decades, African nations have experienced their highest-ever rate of urban growth, on the back of growing economies. Nigeria's urban population is expected to reach 65 % by 2020, from 44 % in 2000. 

The research found that, with better infrastructure and technology, urban households tend to have better access to markets and a higher quality as well as quantity of diets.

By updating infrastructure and technology, thereby reducing transportation and transaction costs, households have better access to markets and increase the quality as well as quantity of diets. 

But while these shifts seem to have positive impacts on reducing undernutrition, they also appear to create a susceptibility to overnutrition.

“Urbanization commonly involves a transition in lifestyle, as people shift into more sedentary livelihoods involving limited physical activities, which in turn may lead to unhealthy weight gain and hence related cardiovascular diseases,” said Mulubrhan Amare, an associate research fellow at the IFPRI.

From 2008 to 2013, the rates of women’s overweight and obesity increased by 24 % and 40 %, respectively.

The IFPRI was established in 1975 to identify and analyze alternative national and international strategies and policies for meeting the food needs of the developing world, with particular emphasis on low-income countries and on the poorer groups in those countries.

- African News Agency (ANA)