Indigenous and traditional African vegetables are receiving increasing attention because of their potential to contribute to food and nutritional security as well as enhance livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa. Traditional African vegetables are important sources of nutrients like iron and calcium and also vitamins A, B complex, C, and E. The consumption of vegetables in sub-Saharan Africa, however, falls way below the recommended levels by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization. This situation has led to micronutrient deficiencies and widespread nutritional disorders among the low-income and food insecure populations. This study explored the factors that determine the nutritional knowledge, frequency of intake, and attitudes of traders towards consumption of traditional African vegetables. Data were collected from 65 purposively selected households of traders in Manyire, Embaseny, and Bangata markets in Arumeru District of Tanzania from July to November 2015. Generalized Poisson and factor analysis were used in the analysis of data. The results showed that education, age, and annual income influenced traders’ nutritional knowledge. The consumption of traditional African vegetables was influenced by education, household size, occupation, nutritional value, and preparation time. Factor analysis results indicated that knowledge of health benefits, taste, preparation time, and perception influenced consumption of traditional African vegetables. These findings imply that the consumption of traditional African vegetables can be enhanced by educating traders about the health benefits of these commodities as well as the taste-preserving preparation techniques. The study recommends inclusion of the health attributes of traditional African vegetables in promotional campaigns.
Key words: Diet, health, education, nutrients, vitamins.
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