Access to Information Technologies and Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables in South Africa: Evidence from Nationally Representative Data

Sinyolo, S and Ndinda, C and Murendo, C and Sinyolo, S A and Neluheni, M (2020) Access to Information Technologies and Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables in South Africa: Evidence from Nationally Representative Data. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (TSI), 17 (13). pp. 1-17. ISSN 1660-4601

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Extensive evidence indicates that fruit and vegetable (F+V) consumption leads to reduced chances of diet related non-communicable diseases (NCDs). However, the F+V consumption levels remain low. This paper investigates the extent to which access to information technologies improves F+V consumption in South Africa. A nationally representative sample of 20,908 households was analysed using the Poisson and logit regression models. The study results indicated that most households do not consume sufficient F+V per day. Only 26% of the household heads consumed F+V at least five times a day. Access to mobile phones, radio, television, and internet was associated with increasing frequency of F+V consumption, and higher chances that a household would consume the minimum recommended levels. The association between the communication technologies and F+V consumption varied. Television access had the highest association with both foods, while internet was only significantly associated with vegetable consumption. Several demographic and socio-economic factors played a key role in shaping F+V consumption patterns. The results show that there is scope to disseminate nutrition awareness and education programs, through mobile phones, internet, radio and television in South Africa. The interventions to promote F+V consumption should be tailored according to the different socio-economic profiles of the population.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fruits and vegetables, Information access, Healthy diets, South Africa
Subjects: Others > Information Technology
Others > Vegetable and Field crops
Others > Food and Nutrition
Others > Southern Africa
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2020 12:33
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2020 11:49
Official URL:
Funders: International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Acknowledgement: The authors wish to thank the stakeholders who participated in the key informant interviews and focus group discussions, as well as the research assistants who assisted with facilitating these engagements. The authors would also like to acknowledge our former colleague Ntombizodwa Mbelle for her contributions in the conceptualisation of this paper.
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