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"I eat to be happy, to be strong, and to live": perceptions of rural and urban adolescents in Cameroon, Africa
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1773-6896
Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaoundé 1, Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
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2007 (English)In: Journal of nutrition education and behavior, ISSN 1499-4046, E-ISSN 1878-2620, Vol. 39, no 6, 320-326 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To investigate factors influencing rural and urban adolescents’ food perceptions during a time of nutritional transition in Cameroon, Africa.

Design: Qualitative in-depth interviews.

Settings: Yaoundé urban and Bandja rural areas.

Participants: Fifteen adolescents 12 to 15 years old purposely selected from schools in urban and rural areas.

Analysis: Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using Grounded Theory method.

Findings: Factors influencing adolescents’ food perceptions from the rural area were “to live” “health” and “poverty.” Among adolescents from the urban poor area, “health,” “beauty,” and “not enough money” were factors. Among adolescents from the urban rich area, “pleasure” and “beauty” were factors. Rural girls liked “to be fat,” whereas girls from the urban poor wanted “to be a little bit fat,” and girls from the urban rich wanted “to be normal.”

Conclusions and Implications: Food behavior is changing from a diet composed of traditional food in rural areas to a more westernized diet in urban areas. The relationship between socioeconomic factors and nutrition needs to be examined with a sufficiently large number of adolescents to investigate these factors in a quantitative survey. Healthful local food should be available at home and from vendors. Nutrition education about food and diet-related diseases is needed in school.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
US: SOCIETY FOR NUTRITION EDUCATION , 2007. Vol. 39, no 6, 320-326 p.
Keyword [en]
Adolescents, food perceptions, in-depth interviews, Cameroon
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30841DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2007.03.001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-30841DiVA: diva2:287665
Available from: 2010-01-19 Created: 2010-01-19 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Socioeconomic and sex differences in adolescents’ dietary intake, anthropometry and physical activity in Cameroon, Africa
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Socioeconomic and sex differences in adolescents’ dietary intake, anthropometry and physical activity in Cameroon, Africa
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: People in Cameroon are experiencing a dietary transition characterized by changing from traditional food habits to increased intake of highly processed sweet and fatty food. The rapid change in food pattern combined with an increased sedentary lifestyle has resulted in a rather high prevalence of obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Nutritional intake is important during adolescence for growth spurt, health, cognitive development and performance in school.

Objective: The aim of this thesis was to assess dietary intake, anthropometry and physical activity of adolescents according to sex and socioeconomic status (SES) and to investigate food perceptions of adolescents living in urban and rural areas of Cameroon.

Methods: Girls and boys, 12-16 years of age, were randomly selected from schools in urban and rural areas. Food frequency questionnaire, 24-hour dietary and physical activity recalls, anthropometric measurements, qualitative interviews and a background questionnaire were used for data collection.

Results: The proportion of overweight was three times higher in girls (14%) compared to boys (4%). Stunting and underweight were more common among boys (15% and 6%) than girls (5% and 1%). The prevalence of stunting was two times higher among the urban adolescents with low SES (12%) compared to those with high SES (5%). The rural adolescents had the highest proportion of stunting but more muscle that the urban adolescents. The rural adolescents ate in order to live and to maintain health. Urban adolescents with low SES ate in order to maintain health, while those with high SES ate for pleasure. More than 30% of the adolescents skipped breakfast in the urban area. Urban adolescents with high SES and girls reported a more frequent consumption of in-between meals and most food groups compared to the rural adolescents, boys and those with low SES. Over 55% of the adolescents had a protein intake below 10% of the energy (E%). Twenty-six percent of the adolescents had fat intake below 25 E%, and 25% had fat intake above 35 E%. A large proportion of the adolescents had an intake of micronutrients below the estimated average recommendation. Boys and the adolescents with low SES reported a higher energy expenditure and physical activity level than girls and the adolescents with high SES, respectively. Both under- and over-reporting of energy intake were common among the adolescents.

Conclusions: The present study showed that nutrient inadequacy, stunting, underweight, as well as overweight and obesity were common among the adolescents in Cameroon. Therefore an intervention program targeting both under- and overnutrition among school adolescents is needed. Sex and socioeconomic differences also need to be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university, 2010. 64 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1327
Keyword
Adolescents, socioeconomic, energy intake, nutrient intake, physical activity, under-overweight, Cameroon
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Nutrition
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30773 (URN)978-91-7264-942-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-02-05, Allmänmedicin, Floor 9A,135, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
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Available from: 2010-01-21 Created: 2010-01-15 Last updated: 2015-10-12Bibliographically approved

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