Assessment of Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Makerere University Undergraduate Students
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This study assessed fruit and vegetable intake among Makerere University undergraduate students. The study examined fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption among undergraduate students at Makerere University and the influence of knowledge of the benefits of F&V consumption on actual F&V intake. Specifically, the objectives of the study were to (i) Assess the frequency of F&V intake, (ii) Establish the amount of F&V and (iii) Examine the association of knowledge on F&V consumption among Makerere University students. A cross-sectional study enrolling Makerere Students from hostels, rentals and halls of residence was performed. The self-reported amount of fruits and vegetables consumed and ≤ servings Vs ≥5 servings/day was the outcome. The frequency of intake of F&V was also assessed and the outcome was frequent, occasional and low frequency of consumption. The knowledge score was also obtained and the outcome knowledgeable and not knowledgeable from a total score of 40. Results show that 56.1% of the respondents were male and 43.9% female. The mean age was 22.8 years. Most of the participants (73.3%) had adequate knowledge on F&V and 5.9% did not agree that F&V were beneficial. Only 21.0% were aware of the WHO recommendation and only 55.4% understood what a serving was. Most respondents reported low frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption. Overall, only 12.7% of the students consumed F&V on a daily basis, 33.3% reported moderate intake while most students (54.0%) had low frequency of F&V intake. Mean servings of F&V were 3.7, which is below the 5 servings recommended by WHO. The mean serving of vegetables (1.97) was higher than fruits (1.73) thus the respondents consumed more vegetables than fruits. Only a quarter (25.0%) of the respondents met the WHO recommendation and most of these were female. There was no significant statistical association between knowledge on F&V and actual consumption of F&V. F&V consumption was only associated with gender, with females more likely to meet the WHO recommendation. It can be concluded that F&V intake was far below the WHO recommendation. Most of the respondents had low frequency of F&V intake and knowledge was not associated with F&V consumption. The females were more likely to consume F&V compared to the males. The key recommendations emanating from this study are; the need for education of the students on health and nutrition and adoption of the MyPlate model to advising and counseling clients since most of the respondents did not understand what a serving was. In addition, the country should develop dietary guidelines to guide the citizens on the need for consumption of F&V. The groceries and stalls around the University should adopt a system of selling F&V to enhance their availability to university students.