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Adolescents’ Knowledge of Diet-Related Chronic Diseases and Dietary Practices in Ghana

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Author(s): Christina A. Nti | Augustina Brown | Angelina Danquah

Journal: Food and Nutrition Sciences
ISSN 2157-944X

Volume: 03;
Issue: 11;
Start page: 1527;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Adolescents | Diet-Related Chronic Diseases | Dietary Practices

ABSTRACT
Diet-related chronic diseases constitute public health and developmental challenges in Ghana. The Ghana Health Service in 2007 reported a national prevalence of diabetes of 11.6%, 27.8% for hypertension and 25% of women were reported to be overweight. Adolescents usually adopt lifestyles that negatively affect their nutritional and health status and increase their risk for development of diet-related chronic diseases later in life. The study was therefore carried out to investigate adolescents’ knowledge of diet-related chronic diseases and its influence on their dietary practices. The study design was a cross-sectional survey involving 313 adolescents aged 14 18 years from public and private senior high schools. Structured interviews and diet assessment methods were used to collect information on respondents’ knowledge of diet-related chronic diseases and dietary practices. The data collected were analyzed using the SPSS program version 16. The Chi-square test and ANOVA were used to determine the relationships between respondents’ knowledge of diet-related chronic diseases and dietary practices. The results revealed that knowledge of diabetes, hypertension and obesity were low among the respondents with most of them (89.2%) having fair to poor knowledge of the diseases. Eighty-eight percent of the adolescents ate three or more times in a day. Meals mostly skipped were breakfast and lunch. Dietary diversity of the respondents was generally poor. There was a significant relationship between knowledge of diet-related chronic diseases and the dietary practices of the adolescents. As knowledge of the diseases increased, dietary diversity also improved.
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