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To explore perceptions of how context shapes adolescent diet and physical activity in eight low- and middle-income (LMIC) sites at different stages of societal and economic transition.
Novel qualitative secondary analysis of eight data sets generated as part of the international Transforming Adolescent Lives through Nutrition (TALENT) collaboration.
Diverse sites in India and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Fifty-two focus group discussions with 491 participants (303 adolescents aged 10–17 years; 188 caregivers).
Analysis of pooled qualitative data identified three themes: (1) transitions in generational nutrition education and knowledge; (2) transition in caregiver–adolescent power balance and (3) the implications of societal and economic transition for diet and physical activity. Adolescents in urban and peri-urban areas could readily access ‘junk’ food. Diets in rural settings were determined by tradition, seasonality and affordability. Physical activity was inhibited by site-specific factors including lack of space and crime in urban settings, and the prioritisation of academic performance. Gender influenced physical activity across all sites, with girls afforded fewer opportunities.
Interventions to improve adolescent diet and physical activity in LMIC need to be complex, context-specific and responsive to transitions at the individual, economic and societal levels. Moreover, solutions need to acknowledge gender inequalities in different contexts, as well as structural and cultural influences on diet and physical activity in resource-limited settings. Programmes need to be effective in engaging and reconciling adolescents’ and caregivers’ perspectives. Consequently, there is a need for action at both the community-household level and also through policy.
Adolescents living in resource-limited settings remain a neglected population regarding their nutritional health. We reviewed what studies on nutrition have been conducted for adolescents living in Côte d’Ivoire.
A scoping literature review, searching for any quantitative studies published from 1 January 2000 to 1 May 2019, referenced in PubMed and grey literature, related to adolescent nutritional status and diet, written in English or French.
Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa
Adolescent girls and boys (aged 10–19 years).
We used three search strategies to explore studies related to (1) diet and nutritional practices, (2) anthropometry and (3) micronutrient intakes/status. Each identified 285, 108 and 84 titles and abstracts, respectively, resulting in 384 full-text articles to review. Finally, after adding five relevant studies from the grey literature, thirty articles were included. Two-thirds were cross-sectional observation studies. The main topics were anaemia and parasitic diseases. Among seven intervention studies, most focused on micronutrient supplementation or deworming. No studies on macronutrients or food supplementation were found. Overall, studies showed a high prevalence of undernutrition, along with emerging overweight and obesity. Anaemia and Fe deficiency were highly prevalent, with Fe supplementation showing modest improvements. Malaria and gut parasite infections remain a major burden, affecting adolescents’ nutritional status.
Few specific relevant studies have been published regarding adolescent nutrition in Côte d’Ivoire, and most studies being focused on younger children. There are knowledge gaps about many nutritional aspects in this population, which urgently need to be addressed.
To explore adolescents’ perceptions, knowledge and behaviours regarding nutrition and physical activity in low-income districts of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, taking into consideration their caregivers’ perspectives.
Two investigators conducted six focus group discussions.
The study was carried out in two low-income suburbs, Yopougon and Port-Bouët, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Adolescents and their caregivers were recruited into the study via local head teachers and heads of settlement.
Overall, seventy-two participants, including forty-six adolescents and twenty-six caregivers, took part. Participants demonstrated good nutrition knowledge, relating nutritional health to a balanced diet and hygiene. Sustained physical activity was reported. However, adopting good practices was challenging due to participant’s economic circumstances. Their environment was a barrier to improving health due to dirtiness and violence, with a lack of space limiting the possibility to practice sport. Adolescents and their caregivers differed in their response to these constraints. Many caregivers felt powerless and suggested that a political response was the solution. Alternatively, adolescents were more likely to suggest new creative solutions such as youth-friendly centres within their community.
Participants were aware that their nutritional habits were not in line with what they had learnt to be good nutritional practices due to socio-economic constraints. Physical activity was part of adolescent life, but opportunities to exercise were restricted by their environment. Strategies for improving adolescent health in these settings need to be developed in collaboration with adolescents in a manner that accommodates their opinions and solutions.
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