Socio-economic differences in adolescents' breakfast eating, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity in Ghana

David Doku, Leena Koivusilta, Susanna Raisamo, Arja Rimpelä
Public Health Nutrition 2013, 16 (5): 864-72

OBJECTIVE: Few studies have investigated the association between adolescents' socio-economic status (SES) and health behaviours in developing countries. Socio-economic differences in breakfast eating, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity were investigated among Ghanaian adolescents.

DESIGN: A school-based survey of 12-18-year-olds (n 1195, response rate 89·7 %) was conducted in 2008. Logistic regression analyses were applied to study the associations between breakfast eating, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity, and SES.

SETTING: Southern Ghana, West Africa.

SUBJECTS: School pupils aged 12-18 years.

RESULTS: Of all adolescents, 31 % took breakfast less than 4 d/week, over half (56 %) and 48 %, respectively, rarely ate fruits and vegetables. Younger adolescents (12-15-year-olds) consumed fruits and vegetables frequently compared with older ones (16-18-year-olds). Boys were more likely to participate in physical activity than girls. The probability of frequent breakfast eating was higher in adolescents from more affluent backgrounds than in those from less affluent ones. Compared with those whose mothers were illiterate, both tertiary and primary maternal educational attainment increased the probability of frequent fruit intake. Similarly, tertiary educational attainment increased the likelihood of frequent vegetable intake. Compared with those with unemployed mothers, mothers' low employment grade was related to higher probability of frequent fruit intake. High school performance was associated with frequent fruit intake, whereas high or medium school performance increased the likelihood of vegetable intake compared with low school performance.

CONCLUSIONS: Interventions are needed to improve breakfast intake, fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity in order to prevent degenerative diseases among Ghanaian adolescents.

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