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Social, economic and cultural influences on adolescent nutrition and physical activity in Jimma, Ethiopia: perspectives from adolescents and their caregivers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2020

Mubarek Abera*
Affiliation:
Faculty of Medical Sciences, Institute of Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Polly Hardy-Johnson
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Alemseged Abdissa
Affiliation:
Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Addis Ababa, Jimma, Ethiopia Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Abdulhalik Workicho
Affiliation:
Faculty of Public Health, Institute of Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Rahma Ali
Affiliation:
Faculty of Public Health, Institute of Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Susie Weller
Affiliation:
Clinical Ethics and Law (CELS), University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Caroline Fall
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Sarah H Kehoe
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Mary Barker
Affiliation:
Medical Research Council (MRC) Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK National Institute for Health Research Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University Hospitals Southampton, Southampton, UK
Abraham Haileamlak
Affiliation:
Faculty of Medical Sciences, Institute of Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
*Corresponding
*Corresponding author: Email abmubarek@gmail.com, mubarek.abera@ju.edu.et

Abstract

Objective:

To explore influences on adolescent diet and physical activity, from the perspectives of adolescents and their caregivers, in Jimma, Ethiopia.

Design:

Qualitative design, using focus group discussions (FGD).

Setting:

A low-income setting in Jimma, Ethiopia.

Participants:

Five FGD with adolescents aged 10–12 years and 15–17 years (n 41) and three FGD with parents (n 22) were conducted.

Results:

Adolescents displayed a holistic understanding of health comprising physical, social and psychological well-being. Social and cultural factors were perceived to be the main drivers of adolescent diet and physical activity. All participants indicated that caregivers dictated adolescents’ diet, as families shared food from the same plate. Meals were primarily determined by caregivers, whose choices were driven by food affordability and accessibility. Older adolescents, particularly boys, had opportunities to make independent food choices outside of the home which were driven by taste and appearance, rather than nutritional value. Many felt that adolescent physical activity was heavily influenced by gender. Girls’ activities included domestic work and family responsibilities, whereas boys had more free time to participate in outdoor games. Girls’ safety was reported to be a concern to caregivers, who were fearful of permitting their daughters to share overcrowded outdoor spaces with strangers.

Conclusions:

Adolescents and caregivers spoke a range of social, economic and cultural influences on adolescent diet and physical activity. Adolescents, parents and the wider community need to be involved in the development and delivery of effective interventions that will take into consideration these social, economic and cultural factors.

Type
Research paper
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2020

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Footnotes

The TALENT collaboration comprises: Laurence Adonis-Koffy, Yopougon University Hospital Faculty of Medical Sciences - UFHB de Cocody Abidjan Ivory Coast; Ulka Banavalli, BKL Walawalkar Hospital and Rural Medical College, Dervan, India; Edna Bosire, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Harsha Chopra, Centre for the Study of Social Change, Mumbai, India; Meera Gandhi, Centre for the Study of Social Change, Mumbai, India; Abraham Haileamlak, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia; Ramatoulie Janha, MRC Keneba, MRC Unit The Gambia; MRC Keneba, Landing Jarjou, MRC Unit The Gambia; Julie Jesson, Inserm U1027, University of Toulouse, Paul Sabatier, France; Shama Joseph, Epidemiology Research Unit, CSI Holdsworth Memorial Hospital, Mysore, India; Kejal Joshi Reddy, Unit, KEM Hospital, Pune, India; Elizabeth Kimani-Murage, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Nairobi, Kenya; Egnon Kouakou, PAC-CI, Abidjan, Ivory Coast; GV Krishnaveni, Epidemiology Research Unit, CSI Holdsworth Memorial Hospital, Mysore, India; Kalyanaraman Kumaran, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton and Head, UK and Epidemiology Research Unit, CSI Holdsworth Memorial Hospital, Mysore, India; Valeriane Leroy, Inserm U1027, University of Toulouse, Paul Sabatier, France; Sophie Moore, Kings College London, London, UK; Shane Norris, Developmental Pathways Research Unit, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Suvarna Patil, BKL Walawalkar Hospital and Rural Medical College, Dervan, India; Sirazul Ameen Sahariah, Centre for the Study of Social Change, Mumbai, India; Kate Ward, MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, UK; Stephanie Wrottesley, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Chittaranjan Yajnik, Diabetes Research Unit, KEM Hospital, Pune, India; Pallavi Yajnik, Diabetes Research Unit, KEM Hospital, Pune, India.

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