Paper Authors and Title

Kate Langley (Technological University Dublin), John Kearney, Souheila Abbeddou, “Evaluation of Dietary Practices in an Increasingly Urbanised Rwanda – Results From Repeated Cross-sectional Surveys”


In recent years, a dietary transition has emerged in Rwanda, involving a shift from traditional, nutrient-rich dietary patterns (DPs) to a ‘Western diet’, caused by rapid urbanisation, economic growth and rural-urban migration. The objective of the present study was to describe the DPs of a sample of Rwandan adults and assess urban and rural differences.

The multiple-pass 24-hour dietary recall method was used to assess the diets of adults living in urban (n=102) and rural (n=106) areas of Rwanda (n=208). DPs were defined by exploratory factor analysis.

Traditional, transitional and westernised DPs were identified in all three groups (all, urban and rural subjects).

The traditional DPs identified in the urban group consisted of a wide range of traditional foods. Two different traditional DPs were identified in the rural group however, they each contained a smaller range of food groups, due to variability of availability of certain food groups.

The transitional DPs identified in all groups were characterised by the consumption of traditional foods alongside foods characteristic of the ‘Western diet’. 90.2% and 70.8% of urban and rural subjects, respectively consumed sweet foods and sugar.

The urban westernised DP consisted of meat and alcohol and the rural westernised DP consisted of deep-fried foods, meat and soft drinks.

Despite the discovery of westernised DPs in both groups, a higher prevalence of urban subjects consumed foods characteristic of the ‘Western diet,’ suggesting a slightly later stage of dietary transition and therefore an increased risk of the development of non-communicable diseases in this setting.


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