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Risk Factors, Nutritional Status And Food Choices Of African Salad Hawkers In Orlu Zone




This study investigated the risk factors, nutritional status and food choices of African salad hawkers in Orlu zone. Specifically, the study sought to determine the dietary pattern and nutritional status, determine the socio-demographic factors influencing pregnant women in the rural and urban areas of Owerri and identifying the risk factors among African salad hawkers in Orlu zone of Imo State A cross-sectional design was adopted for the study. The population comprised all hawkers/vendors of African salad in homes and villages/towns in Orlu.  Simple random sampling was used to draw four hundred (400) respondents who participated in the study. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Their height and weight were also taken and compared with standards of Waist Hip Ratio (WHR). Data collected were analyzed using means, standard deviations, and ANOVA used for correlation analyses. Findings revealed that most of the respondents were (92.4%) fairly educated, 42.8% were traders and government workers 47.8%; 71.5% had breakfast and dinner, skipped meals (61.8%) while dry fish 76.3% was considered a major factor in preparation of African salad. Soaking 71.5%, aluminium 33.3%, disposable plates 47.8% and market place 76.3% were seen as risk factors respectively. The findings of the study revealed that there was no significant difference at (P>0.05) from the weight –WHR respectively. A lower prevalence of weight when compared to national BMI Standards was obtained, with the females having a higher (70.47±17.37) weight than the males (70.92±16.34). The result shows the weight of the respondents in were not significantly different (p>0.05). The study concludes that the poor nutrition knowledge of the respondents is however worrisome and therefore recommends the further development of educational initiatives and behavioral change programs designed to increase awareness on the risk factors of African salad meals and improve dietary nutrient intakes in the state.



1.1       Background of the Study

African salad (Abacha)is enjoying increasing patronage due to industrialization which is forcing many city dwellers to eat their major daily meals out of home. African salad hawking is a common feature of most cities and towns in developing countries like Owerri, Imo State and Nigeria respectively. Aside provision of ready-made instant meals at relatively inexpensive prices, teeming urban dwellers are attached to street abachafoods because of its gustatory attributes. These attributes are linked to the culinary prowess of the hawkers (Adu&Falade, 2009). Akinyele (2010) reported the significant contribution of African salad to nutrotion and food security for millions of practitioners along the chain. Draper (2007) also identified them as potential vehicles for micronutrient fortification.

African salad hawking activities in most states are mostly outside the regulation and protection of the governments. The economic importance of the activities is not well appreciated due to the informal nature of the enterprise and lack of official data on volume of trade involved (Onimawo, et al., 2010). African salad hawking makes up the significant proportion of informal sector of the economy of most developing countries. About 28.5% labor force in Nigeria were reportedly employed in the informal sector, 30.8% of the activities in this sector were in the street food which employed over 120,000 vendors in Lagos city alone in 2008 (NRC, 2010). Dawson and Canet (2009) reported that street food vending in Malaysia is a multi-million US dollar trade pro- viding direct employment for over 100,000 vendors with gross annual sales volume of about 2 billion US dollars. Hiemstra et al. (2005) also mentioned the significant contribution of micro-businesses made up largely of street food sector to the economy of Vietnam.

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The sight and smell of African salad (Abacha) are a common phenomenon in low- and middle- income countries, particularly in urban settings. SF are not only appreciated for their uniqueflavours, convenience, and affordability, but also contribute to the economy, the perseverance of cultural and social heritage of the society, and the potential for maintaining and improving the nutritional status of people (Arambulo et al., 2004; Draper, 2006; Mgwani et al., 2011; von Holy & Makoane, 2006; Rheinlander et al., 2008; Rane, 2011 and Steyn et al., 2013). African salad are defined as ready-to-eat foods and beverages prepared and/or sold by vendors and hawkers, especially in streets and other similar places (Food and Agricultural Organization [FAO], 2009). However, it needs to be noted that African salad are not always healthy foods and fruits; they are frequently energy-dense and may be high in sugar and fat (Steyn et al., 2013).

In the literature, African salad consumers are mostly described as being young, single, unskilled workers, with a low level of education and poor knowledge of hygiene (Faye et al., 2008, Martins, 2006, Rheinlander et al., 2008). Indeed, in a study conducted by Martins (2006), it was shown that most African salad consumers were black (98.9%), single (50%), male (88.4%), and between ages 26 and 35 years. Most of these consumers (64.1%) had some form of high- school education, with fewer people (8%) having post high-school qualifications and university degrees. Worthy of noting, is that a fairly large number of street-food consumers are operational around the taxi and bus stop-off points (40.4%), as vendors are commonly placed at transport interchanges (Monsupye and von Holy, 2010).

African salad contributes significantly to the diet of numerous people living in low- and middle- income countries, including Nigeria (Steyn et al., 2013). In south east, Nigeria, 11.3% of the population purchase African salad on a regular basis (Steyn and Labadarios, 2011). Nigerians from the south east region are the most regular buyers of African salad, with nearly one out of five persons (19%) consuming these at least twice a week. Furthermore, with an increasingly urban workforce and many people working away from home, African saladhave become one of the most convenient sources of meals and snacks (Harvard School of Public Health, N.D.). Many people lack proper housing and cooking facilities, hence African salad become an ideal choice of cheap and labour-free meals (Dawson and Canet, 1991; Steyn et al., 2013).

Proper nutrition during hawking is considered important for the wellbeing of both mother and foetus. A balanced diet supports maternal health during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. Maternal nutrition affects the growth and development of the foetus, and also later health outcomes in the offspring. Maternal weight status influences both the mother and her child throughout the entire reproductive cycle, beginning before conception and continuing through lactation. There is a relative paucity of data on maternal diet in pregnancy and the association between diet and gestational weight gain. In addition, little is known about the associations between obesity, excessive weight gain in pregnancy and type 1diabetes (T1D) in children. According to earlier findings among Nigerian girls and women, intakes of vitamin D, folic acid and iron are below the recommended levels (Paturi et al., 2008).

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Nutritional status of a female hawker is highly dependent on maternal nutritional status in her activities during hawking. Nutritional status is a major determinant of not only the health outcome but also chronic disease risk in a woman during both childhood and adult life. Unfortunately, in developing countries, females are nutritionally the most insecure group and a large number of expectant mothers do not receive optimum level of essential nutrients during their gestational period (Tianan. et al, 2005). Nutrient requirements increase during periods of growth and development. An adequate amount of nutrients is needed to support fetal and infant growth and development along with alterations in maternal tissues and metabolism (Picciano, 2003). It is estimated that recommended intakes of 14 of the 21 essential micronutrients increase during pregnancy (Allen, 2006). Nutritional knowledge is necessary in realizing the objective of proper dietary practices among hawkers. Nutritional knowledge enables female hawkers especially to be aware and knowledgeable about nutrition information (Daba et al., 2013). Knowledge of nutrition information assists these women in making decisions regarding diet and food choices. It is necessary in identifying foods, nutritional properties and recommendations on the size and frequency of consumption (Audu, 2013).This review aims to provide exposition on the sources of risks of significant health importance to the consumers and nutritional status of African saladhawkers reported in the literature and the safety intervention proposed. This could assist to provide holistic intervention baseline to safeguard the health and safety of all along the entire chain.

1.2       Statement of Problem

African salad hawking is one of the most widespread forms of nutrition nation-wide and is associated with morbidity, mortality and lost schooling (Alma, 2010). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) global database, it affects 46% of nutritional status of women globally (Lee & Herbert, 2009). Nigeria is one of the most affected regions, with a prevalence rate of 50%. In Nigeria, 43.3% of adolescent girls aged 15-19 years are having chronic diseases (Osazuwa and Ehigie, 2010). Mineral deficienciessuch as anemia, cholera, typhoid is responsible for 4.3% of all deaths and 3.0% of all hospital admissions in women in Nigeria.Deficiencies in this regardis common whenever diets are low in classes of foods especially during periods of rapid growth, bleeding and ill health, being associated with conditions such as malaria and worm infestation (Osazuwa and Ehigie, 2010). Nutritional deficiency can result from a diet deficient in folate, protein, copper, cobalt, zinc, vitamins A, E, B2, B6, B12 and ascorbic acid. This is because these nutrients are involved in the metabolism of haemoglobin. Complete exclusion of animal foods from meals leads to vitamin B12 deficiency which is likely to result in megaloblastic anaemia, further affecting haemoglobin levels. In Nigeria, progress in tackling nutritional deficiency in general and risk factors of hawkers in general in particular has been slow despite its reflection in international goals and resolutions as well as various national policies (Manuel and Isabel, 2009).

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If this is left untreated, it carries a risk for both the man, woman and child and will result in serious short and long-term consequences which include complications during pregnancy and childbirth such as miscarriages, lengthened labour pain, cesarean section, macrosomia, shoulder dystocia, neonatal hypoglycaemia, still birth and neonatal death. It also increases the risk of obesity and diabetes later life (Vohr and Boney, 2018; Hillier et al., 2017). For pregnant women, especially hawkers there are often complaints of monotony of diet poor quality and rarely well prepared. Local food vendors sell foods without regard to their nutritive value and hygienic regulations. With the introduction of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in Nigeria, many women have been able to attend hospitals but little or no attention has been given to food choices and nutritional status. The study, therefore, intended to assess the risk factors, nutritional status and food choices of African salad hawkers in Orlu zone.

 1.3       Objectives of the Study

General Objective;

The general objective of the study was to determine the nutritional status, risk factors and food choices of African salad hawkers in Orlu zone.

The specific objectives will be:

  1. To determine the dietary pattern and nutrition status of African salad hawkers with anemia in Orlu zone
  2. To determine the socio-demographic factors influencing African salad hawkers in Orlu zone
  3. To examine and identify the risk factors in African salad hawkers within Orlu Zone
  4. To correlate dietary practices among the African salad(abacha) hawkers in Orlu in relation to their nutritional status.

1.4       Significance of the Study

It will be recalled that in 2007, the Government of Imo State mounted a programme on maternal and child health (MCH) to reduce maternal and child mortality in the State. This will provide baseline information on the prevalence of low birth weight, nutrition knowledge, dietary practices and anthropometric indices of women, as well as on the relationship between nutrition and health status among food vendors and hawkers in Imo State. Such information will be necessary for the evaluation of some of the nutrition intervention programmes mounted by the government of Imo State.

The results of this study will help policy makers review existing and future policies and programmes regarding maternal and child health. Furthermore, this study will help in assessing progress so far made towards the achievement of Goal 4 and Goal 5 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which are reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health, respectively.

Nutritionists and health practitioners will use the result of this study to design nutrition education packages for mothers and would be mothers, on the importance of promoting optimal nutrient intake, to ensure optimal foetal development, which will in turn reduce the risk of chronic diseases in adults.

Students of human nutrition and other related fields of study will be motivated by the result of this study to engage more on studies pertaining to maternal and child health.

Pages:  77

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF                

Chapters: 1-5                                                      

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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