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AFRICA (Yes, The Country) Has An OBESITY Problem

Bloomberg- When it comes to health issues in Africa, people think of chronic hunger, or infectious diseases such as malaria or HIV/AIDS. But Africa is simultaneously struggling with an increase in noncommunicable diseases, most of them related to obesity.

Other parts of Africa have some of the highest rates of high blood pressure in the world, estimated to afflict 46 percent of adults, while obesity, another risk factor, is on the increase. 

One of the main causes are dietary habits that include too many refined carbohydrates, oils and sugars that have come with the proliferation of convenience foods. In addition, there is a traditional belief that excess weight is a symbol of prosperity and wealth. Often obese people are unaware of the risks until told by doctors, and most of them say they wish they had known about it earlier.

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Incredible. I still remember when, as a kid, some underdeveloped loser wouldn’t finish his plate. We’d shame him into stuffing himself sick with that rote admonition: “there are starving children in Africa!” Somehow, we genuinely believed that the noodles in our friend’s bowl had been ripped from the mouths of malnourished Botswanan orphans; as though a U.N. peacekeeping force had diverted an airdrop of rice bags from Sierra Leone back to rural Maine, and we owed it to those emaciated children to lick our plates clean.

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Well, good news: those days are behind us. Not sure how they solved it (Bono?) but now, Africa has an obesity problem! An influx of refined carbs, oils, and sugars are to blame. Uggggggghhh. I like a cheat day as much as anyone, but let’s keep our carbs complex please? Sweet potatoes and quinoa will satisfy that rumbling tummy just as well as a bagel and shmear. If you’re strolling the streets of Nairobi for a late-night snack, walk past the Krispy Kreme and head into Sweet Green instead. They source all their vegetables from local farmers. Just make sure to order your harvest bowl in person, not online! Sitting on your couch playing Fortnite with a bag of Tate’s Bake Shop chocochippers—the thin ones that go down like fucking crackers? Toss them in the fire pit and grab some hyena jerky instead. Your heart will thank you.

Lastly, I love a society where the fat man is king. We’ve seen that in various cultures throughout history. Unfortunately, we tipped it all around here in America thanks to unrealistic body expectations put forth on the magazine covers in grocery store checkout lanes. Meanwhile, in Africa, young women are facetuning their thigh gaps CLOSED to make their instagram followers think they’re nobility. I say we send all those 600-pound cake people from West Virginia to live in sub-Saharan villages. They’ll be worshipped as kings; they’ll have the suspension on their motorized carts reinforced for free by the local mechanic; “My 600-lb Life” will look like a reboot of MTV Cribs. Wouldn’t that be delicious?