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Correlates of healthy fruit and vegetable diet in students in low, middle and high income countries

Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of fruits and vegetable consumption and associated factors among university students from 26 low, middle and high income countries.

Methods

Using anonymous questionnaires, data were collected in a cross-sectional survey from 17,789 undergraduate university students (mean age 20.8, SD = 2.8) from 27 universities in 26 countries across Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Results

Overall, 82.8 % of the university students consumed less than the recommended five servings of fruits and/or vegetables. The mean fruit and vegetable consumption varied by country, ranging from ≤2.5 mean daily servings in Jamaica, Philippines and Barbados to ≥3.9 mean daily servings in Mauritius, Tunisia and Ivory Coast. In multivariate logistic regression analysis, sociodemographic factors, psychosocial factors, and behavioural factors (inadequate dietary behaviours, binge drinking and physical inactivity) were associated with low prevalence of fruit and vegetable intake.

Conclusions

Findings stress the need for intervention programmes aiming at increased consumption of fruit and vegetables considering the identified sociodemographic, psychosocial and behavioural risk factors.

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Acknowledgments

Partial funding for this study was provided by the South African Department of Higher Education. The following colleagues participated in this student health survey and contributed to data collection (locations of universities in parentheses) Bangladesh: Gias Uddin Ahsan (Dhaka); Barbados: T. Alafia Samuels (Bridgetown); Cameroon: Jacques Philippe Tsala Tsala (Yaounde); China: Tony Yung and Xiaoyan Xu (Hong Kong and Chengdu); Colombia: Carolina Mantilla (Pamplona); Egypt: Alaa Abou-Zeid (Cairo); Grenada: Omowale Amuleru-Marshall (St. George); India: Krishna Mohan (Visakhapatnam); Indonesia: Indri Hapsari Susilowati (Jakarta); Ivory Coast: Issaka Tiembre (Abidjan); Jamaica: Caryl James (Kingston); Kyrgyzstan: Erkin M Mirrakhimov (Bishkek); Laos: Vanphanom Sychareun (Vientiane); Madagascar: Onya H Rahamefy (Antananarivo); Mauritius: Hemant Kumar Kassean (Réduit, Moka); Namibia: Pempelani Mufune (Windhoek); Nigeria: Solu Olowu (Ile-Ife); Pakistan: Rehana Reman (Karachi); Philippines: Alice Ferrer (Miagao); Russia: Alexander Gasparishvili (Moscow); Singapore: Mee Lian Wong (Singapore); South Africa: Tholene Sodi (Polokwane); Thailand: Tawatchai Apidechkul (Chiang Rai); Tunisia: Hajer Aounallah-Skhiri (Tunis); Turkey: Neslihan Keser Özcan (Istanbul); Venezuela: Yajaira M Bastardo (Caracas).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Karl Peltzer.

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Peltzer, K., Pengpid, S. Correlates of healthy fruit and vegetable diet in students in low, middle and high income countries. Int J Public Health 60, 79–90 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-014-0631-1

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Keywords

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Consumption
  • Risk factors
  • Young adults