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Factors influencing dietary practices in a transitioning food environment: a cross-sectional exploration of four dietary typologies among rural and urban Ugandan women using Photovoice

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posted on 2021-04-20, 13:15 authored by Carolyn I Auma, Rebecca PradeillesRebecca Pradeilles, Megan K Blake, David Musoke, Michelle Holdsworth
Abstract Background Healthy and sustainable dietary practices offer a possible solution to competing tensions between health and environmental sustainability, particularly as global food systems transition. To encourage such dietary practices, it is imperative to understand existing dietary practices and factors influencing these dietary practices. The aim of this study was to identify multi-level factors in lived rural and urban Ugandan food environments that influence existing dietary practices among women of reproductive age (WRA).
Methods A mixed methods study was conducted. Multiple correspondence analysis followed by hierarchical cluster analysis were performed on dietary data collected among a sample (n = 73) of Ugandan WRA in Kampala (urban) and Wakiso (rural) districts to elicit dietary clusters. Dietary clusters, which were labelled as dietary typologies based on environmental impact and nutrition transition considerations, were reflective of dietary practices. Following this, a smaller sample of WRA (n = 18) participated in a Photovoice exercise and in-depth interviews to identify factors in their social, physical, socio-cultural and macro-level environments influencing their enactment of the identified dietary typologies, and therefore dietary practices.
Results Four dietary typologies emerged: ‘urban, low-impact, early-stage transitioners’, ‘urban, medium-impact, mid-stage transitioners’, ‘rural, low-impact, early-stage transitioners’ and ‘rural, low-impact, traditionalists’. Although experienced somewhat differently, the physical environment (access, availability and cost), social networks (parents, other family members and friends) and socio-cultural environment (dietary norms) were cross-cutting influences among both urban and rural dietary typologies. Seasonality (macro-environment) directly influenced consumption of healthier and lower environmental impact, plant-based foods among the two rural dietary typology participants, while seasonality and transportation intersected to influence consumption of healthier and lower environmental impact, plant-based foods among participants in the two urban dietary typologies.
Conclusion Participants displayed a range of dietary typologies, and therefore dietary practices. Family provides an avenue through which interventions aimed at encouraging healthier and lower environmental impact dietary practices can be targeted. Home gardens, urban farming and improved transportation could address challenges in availability and access to healthier, lower environmental impact plant-based foods among urban WRA.


Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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Nutrition Journal






Springer Science and Business Media LLC


  • VoR (Version of Record)

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© The authors

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This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Dr Rebecca Pradeilles. Deposit date: 19 April 2021

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