When food is often scarce or at least in short supply for one reason or another, it makes good sense to maximize what you have available. While the problems of obesity that plague the western countries are not really an issue on the African continent as a whole, its polar opposite, malnutrition and being underweight are much more prevalent.
It has been said that in the west people are dying from overeating, while in Africa, they die from starvation. It's an unfortunate fact of life that while one part of the world can afford to be so overindulgent in the way it over-consumes the abundance of food that is available while a whole continent is deprived of that luxury.
Yet in many parts of Africa, there is an abundance of food that is often kept by a small minority and not shared with the people that need it most. It is this duplicity that is both baffling and sad yet little seems to ever be done to redress the balance.
Foreign aid pours into the African nations and that aid is meant to help its people. But often that monetary lifeline is never seen by the majority of the people that need it. Unscrupulous governments and corrupt politicians deflect the lion's share of that aid into their own projects that often have little to do with helping the people they govern.
So what can the people do to help maintain a decent level of nutrition for themselves and their families in the face of so much difficulty?
Foreign run projects to help people to learn to farm their lands and grow their own food would seem to be the most logical solution and in some areas this is working well. In those places where these projects are allowed to flourish, whole villages are reaping the benefits of their ability to feed themselves.
It also provides the people with a sense of self reliance and control over their own needs. The heart warming side of these few but important success stories is that when given the tools to work with and having a strong reason to use them, people will use them when they know how to.
Diet and nutrition works both ways whether a person is overweight or underweight. Getting the balance right as far as possible should always be the primary aim.
While there is little immediate need for the kind of dietary information to help people avoid weight gain in most areas of Africa, there is a need for nutritional information to help people to understand what they need to eat to at least be as healthy as is possible under the circumstances that prevail. Such information can be found on website such as Diet Will that tackle not only the problems of the overweight and obese, but also the undernourished and underweight.
Education is the way forward and that is something that can be achieved more easily than merely pouring money into a diet and nutrition problem and hoping it will fix it. We may not live in a perfect world when it comes to our diets, but we can try to do as much as we can to educate and assist where it is needed and desired.