International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 669–678 | Cite as

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

  • Karl PeltzerEmail author
  • Supa Pengpid
Original Article



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


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.


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).


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.


Fruits Vegetables Adolescents Psychosocial correlates Health-compromising behaviors African countries 



We are grateful to the World Health Organization (Geneva) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta) for making the data available for analysis, and the country coordinators from Botswana (Rachel Mosinyi), Kenya (William K. Maina), Senegal (Samba Cor Sarr), Swaziland (Mildred Xaba), United Republic of Tanzania (Ursuline S. Nyandindi), Uganda (Jermiahs Twa-Twa) and Zambia (George Sikazwe) for their assistance in collecting the Global School-based Student Health Survey data. We also thank the Ministries of Education and Health and the study participants for making the Global School Health Survey in the seven African countries possible. The governments of the respective study countries and the World Health Organization did not influence the analysis nor did they have influence on decision to publish these findings.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Sciences Research CouncilPretoriaSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of LimpopoTurfloopSouth Africa
  3. 3.University of LimpopoPretoriaSouth Africa

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