Presented To

Department of Agriculture


This epidemiological study was to elicit information on the consumption pattern of antioxidant
rich foods among middle-aged adults in Enugu North local government area, Enugu State,
Nigeria. Four hundred adult men and women aged 40-60 years were used for the study.
Multiple- staged stratified random sampling technique was used for selection of the subjects
used for the study. The respondents were randomly selected from 10 streets in the 5 urban zones
making up the Enugu North local government area. Structured questionnaire with personal
interview was the instrument used for data collection. Information were collected on the
demographic characteristics, chronic diseases that affected the respondents, general knowledge
of food nutrients, concepts of antioxidant, free radicals, sources and their health implications and
on consumption pattern of antioxidant rich foods. Also, data on the length of consumption
pattern of antioxidant rich foods and those factors that could hinder adequate consumption of
antioxidant rich foods were elicited. The statistical package for socials sciences SPSS version 12
was used for the data analysis. Percentages, frequency, mean and standard deviation were
employed for the data analysis. Analysis of data revealed that 74% of the respondents were
females and 26% were males, 78.8% were married, 85% had higher education and 80% were
civil servants.

Revealed also was that 75% of the respondents were affected by varied chronic
diseases. Altogether, 790 chronic illnesses were discovered as some respondents had more than
one disease at a time. Females (76.7%) were with chronic illnesses while males had 23.3%.
Subjects 40-50 years with chronic illnesses were 69.2%, while those 51-60 were 30.8%. The
chronic diseases and their distribution were grouped into ten and they included 17.0% diabetes,
28.6% arthritis, 32.7% eye related problems, 30.0% heart, 19.8% brain and 19.9% cancer related
problems. Uncovered also were, 9.1% fibroid, 17.5% prostatitis, 21.3% peptic ulcer/gastritis and
2.9% adult asthma/hiccoughs. Most of the respondents (85%) knew little or nothing about the
nutrient contents of the various foods they consumed. The result also showed that the
respondent’s concepts of antioxidants, free radicals, sources and health implications were below
the mean value. The subjects were found to have consumed inadequate amounts of antioxidant
rich foods.

Majority groups (79.1%, 56.9%, 76.1%, 59.9%, 81.4% and 72.5%) of the
respondents had negative consumption practice to intakes of the antioxidant rich fruits,
vegetables, grain/legumes, food additives, beverages, and snacks, respectively, for over 20 years.
On the other hand, minority groups (21.9%, 43.1%, 23.9%, 40.1%, 18.6%, and 27.5%) had
positive practice to consumption of the antioxidant rich food groups, respectively, with
exception of the antioxidant rich animal products that had a high percentage of 80.5%
consumption practice. Ten factors including ignorance, scarcity, cultural background,
upbringing, foreign, fear of system intolerance, poor knowledge of preparation, poor colour
acceptance, religious beliefs and time for preparation of such foods appeared to contribute to
inadequate consumption of the essential nutrients. It is therefore concluded that many factors
including poverty, lack of knowledge or ignorance of the immense nutritional importance of
antioxidant foods were responsible for their inadequate consumption. Probably as a result of
these, a high percentage of the respondents were affected by different chronic diseases
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