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African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development
Rural Outreach Program
ISSN: 1684-5358
EISSN: 1684-5358
Vol. 7, No. 6, 2007
Bioline Code: nd07052
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, Vol. 7, No. 6, 2007

Funke, Olumakaiye M. & Ajayi, O.A


Food choices of adolescents have become increasingly unhealthy, putting them at increased risk of malnutrition, as they grow older. The study investigated the determinants of food choices of adolescents in order to assess their nutritional knowledge and implication. World Health Organisation (WHO) describes children aged 10-19 years as adolescents. Four hundred and one adolescents who were in secondary schools were interviewed from six of the thirty local government areas of Osun State, which is a south-western state of Nigeria. Based on the population of secondary schools in the local government areas, thirty-two schools were sampled. Pre tested structured questionnaires using a set of high quality colour photographs of foods and drinks that would typically be offered to adolescents were used. The photographs, showing one item each, included foods such as biscuits, buns, meat pie that were classified as "snacks" and those, such as rice and beans garnished with vegetable and either fish/meat stew, stewed beans, pounded yam that formed part of a conventional meal. In the same manner, photographs showing a bottle of coke, milk, chocolate drink and home made non-alcoholic drinks were presented. This was used to elicit information from the respondents. Descriptive statistical techniques such as frequency counts, percentage, mean and standard deviation, likewise inferential tools, such as, correlation analysis and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used in data analysis. The study showed positive and significant correlation between the preference and nutritional contents of foods (r = 0.514, p<0.05) and drinks (r = 0.346, p<0.05). There was no significant difference in the preference and perceived nutritional contents of the foods (F = 3.072), while there was a difference in the choice and perceived nutritional contents of drinks (F = 0.217) among the urban and rural adolescents. It is concluded that, the food choice of the adolescents in the study area was based more on taste preference than the nutritional contents. The nutritional knowledge of the adolescents in the study area is high but the knowledge on home made non alcoholic drinks is low. Nutrition education should be intensified especially on traditional foods and home made non-alcoholic drinks that are nutritious.

Adolescents, Food choices, Nutritional knowledge.

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