Navigating the local foodscape: qualitative investigation of food retail and dietary preferences in Kisumu and Homa Bay Counties, western Kenya.
BMC Public Health 2022 ; 22: 1186.
PubMed ID : 35701807
PMCID : PMC9199252
Non-communicable diseases have risen markedly over the last decade. A phenomenon that was mainly endemic in high-income countries has now visibly encroached on low and middle-income settings. A major contributor to this is a shift towards unhealthy dietary behavior. This study aimed to examine the complex interplay between people's characteristics and the environment to understand how these influenced food choices and practices in Western Kenya.
This study used semi-structured guides to conduct in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with both male and female members of the community, across various socioeconomic groups, from Kisumu and Homa Bay Counties to further understand their perspectives on the influences of dietary behavior. Voice data was captured using digital voice recorders, transcribed verbatim, and translated to English. Data analysis adopted an exploratory and inductive analysis approach. Coded responses were analyzed using NVIVO 12 PRO software.
Intrapersonal levels of influence included: Age, the nutritional value of food, occupation, perceived satiety of some foods as opposed to others, religion, and medical reasons. The majority of the participants mentioned location as the main source of influence at the community level reflected by the regional staple foodscape. Others include seasonality of produce, social pressure, and availability of food in the market. Pricing of food and distance to food markets was mentioned as the major macro-level influence. This was followed by an increase in population and road infrastructure.
This study demonstrated that understanding dietary preferences are complex. Future interventions should not only consider intrapersonal and interpersonal influences when aiming to promote healthy eating among communities but also need to target the community and macro environments. This means that nutrition promotion strategies should focus on multiple levels of influence that broaden options for interventions. However, government interventions in addressing food access, affordability, and marketing remain essential to any significant change.