Fruits and vegetables consumption and associated factors among in-school adolescents in seven African countries

Int J Public Health. 2010 Dec;55(6):669-78. doi: 10.1007/s00038-010-0194-8. Epub 2010 Sep 25.


Objectives: To present data on fruits and vegetables consumption and associated factors among African in-school adolescents.

Methods: Data were collected by self-report questionnaire from nationally representative samples (total 17,656) of school children aged 13-15 years in seven African countries.

Results: Thirty-six percent (36%) and 23% of 13-15-year-old boys and 32.6 and 22.3% of the 13-15-year-old girls had inadequate fruits and vegetables consumption (less than once per day). In multivariate analysis, inadequate fruits consumption was associated with distal factors such as going without food (OR = 1.50, P = .001), being male (OR = 1.23, P = .012) and higher education (OR = 1.56, P = .001), proximal factors including lack of care giver connectedness (OR = 1.41, P = .000), and smoking (OR = 1.52, P = .004), and inadequate vegetables consumption was associated with lack of care giver supervision (OR = 1.57, P = .000), no close friends (OR = 1.55, P = .000) and having less education (OR = 0.73, P = .002).

Conclusion: The results stress the need for intervention programmes aimed at increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, targeting proximal factors such as the family environment, distal factors by aiming at reaching adolescents from lower socio-economic groups and integrating other risk factors such as substance use and mental distress into health promotion among adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Africa
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*