Perceptions beliefs and practices on the health benefits associated with consunption of African leafy vegetables in Western Kenya
MetadataShow full item record
Many Sub-Sahara African countries are faced with food and nutritional insecurity. Declining production and utilization of African Leafy Vegetables (ALVs) would lead to reduced dietary diversity at household levels with associated adverse nutritional consequences. Furthermore, local indigenous vegetable species have not received as much promotional attention compared to the exotic crops counterparts. A crosssectional descriptive study was therefore designed to establish perceptions, beliefs and practices of community members on the health benefits associated with consumption of ALVs in Butere-Mumias District. A simple random sample size of 316 respondents was involved in this study. The study was designed to use both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, including structured questionnaires, a week consumption recall, key informant interview guides and focus group discussions. Data was managed using SPSS software while analyses utilized Chi-Square test and Contingency Coefficient measures of association to test the hypotheses and establish relationship between variables. Consumption of ALVs among the Kwisero community members was found to be high with a majority of respondents (80.8%) consuming them 4 or more times a week. They mainly obtain them from their own farms. Overall, the most commonly consumed ALVs include Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) (85%), followed by Jute plant (Corchorus) (73%), Spider plant (Cleome gynandra) (71%), African nightshade (Solunum spp.) (69%), Africa Sunhemp (Crotararia spp.) (59%), Leafy Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) (43%), Pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) (6%) and Vine spinach (Basella alba) (4%) in that order. There was a significant correlation between indigenous knowledge and consumption patterns of ALVs at 0.05 level of significance (p<0.005). There was no significant differences (p<0.005) found for gender, religion, education, type of house, head of household's occupation and family size and ALVs consumption levels. However, age, mother's occupation and type of roofing used were found to be positively correlated with ALVs consumption level. Various indigenous knowledge regarding health benefits of consumption of ALVs was established. From the study it can be concluded that culture plays a great role in ALVs consumption. Indigenous knowledge is embedded in their utilization and therefore critical for their promotion. There is therefore a need to explore traditional dietary patterns further which could potentially have health implications especially for non-communicable diseases.