As she walks through the alleyways of her poor neighborhood, to a job washing other people’s clothes, Valentine Akinyi weathers the jeers yelled at her: “Elephant, elephant, elephant.”
She has gotten used to the insults, she said, but still, it hurts. “Who’s going to want to marry me?” she asked. It used to be difficult in Kenya to find many people built like Ms. Akinyi, who, at 5 feet 9 inches tall and 285 pounds, is obese. In Africa, the world’s poorest continent, malnutrition is stubbornly widespread and millions of people are desperately hungry, with famine conditions looming in some war-torn countries.
But in many places, growing economies have led to growing waistlines. Obesity rates in sub-Saharan Africa are shooting up faster than in just about anywhere else in the world, causing a public health crisis that is catching Africa, and the world, by surprise.
The New York Times