Implications for Health and Environmental Sustainability of Urbanisation and the Nutrition Transition: Perspectives from Rural and Urban Uganda

Carolyn Imelda Auma began her studies at the University of Sheffield in September 2015 as a PhD student. Just before she commenced her studies at the University of Sheffield, she worked as part of a team of consultants that was involved in a multi-stakeholder review of the Uganda Development Strategy Investment Plan 2010/11-2014/15. Prior to this, she worked at the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Somalia in Nairobi, Kenya as an International Nutrition Analyst Intern for 6 months. Carolyn also previously worked as a Graduate Research Assistant at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering at Makerere University for about two years, upon the completion of her undergraduate degree. Aside from this, she has volunteered as a researcher at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering at Makerere University, National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) and National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), Biosciences Department, all in Uganda. She holds a BSc. in Food Science and Technology (First Class Hons.) from Makerere University, Uganda and MSc. International Public Health Nutrition (Distinction) from the University of Westminster.


As urbanisation increases in sub-Saharan Africa, dietary changes consonant with the nutrition transition are likely to occur. These may have implications for both health and environmental sustainability. Some authors have suggested that younger women, particularly low-income women in sub-Saharan Africa, are more vulnerable to dietary changes compared with men of a similar age. 

To explore the dietary practices among rural and urban women of reproductive age in Uganda; the social, cultural and physical influences behind them and the implications thereof for environmental sustainability in order to propose an acceptable, affordable, healthy and environmentally sustainable diet adaptable to the Ugandan context.


To explore dietary practices and the healthiness and environmental sustainability of these dietary practices, principal component analysis of secondary data from the 2008 Uganda Food Consumption Survey will be used. This will be coupled with primary data collected via qualitative 24-hour recall interviews and Photovoice interviews among rural and urban Uganda women (n=54) of reproductive age. To explore the influences behind the dietary practices of Ugandan women of reproductive age, Photovoice will be used. Lastly, to propose an acceptable, affordable healthy and an environmentally sustainable Ugandan diet, OptiFood a software programme that uses mathematical modelling, will be used.

Expected outcomes
It is anticipated that this research will shed light on dietary practices of Ugandan women and the influences behind them, and so encourage discourse among public health practitioners and policy makers towards more healthy and environmentally sustainable dietary patterns.

A copy of Carolyn's poster for the Grantham Symposium can be seen here: