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Community perceptions on the factors in the social food environment that influence dietary behaviour in cities of Kenya and Ghana: A Photovoice study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Fiona GrahamORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Authors 2022.Objective To explore communities' perspectives on the factors in the social food environment that influence dietary behaviours in African cities. Design A qualitative study using participatory photography (Photovoice). Participants took and discussed photographs representing factors in the social food environment that influence their dietary behaviours. Follow-up in-depth interviews allowed participants to tell the 'stories' of their photographs. Thematic analysis was conducted, using data driven and theory-driven (based on the socio-ecological model) approaches. Setting Three low-income areas of Nairobi (n=48) in Kenya, and Accra (n=62) and Ho (n=32) in Ghana. Participants Adolescents and adults, male and female aged ≥13 years. Results The 'people' who were the most commonly reported as influencers of dietary behaviours within the social food environment included family members, friends, health workers and food vendors. They mainly influenced food purchase, preparation and consumption, through 1) considerations for family members' food preferences, 2) considerations for family members' health and nutrition needs, 3) social support by family and friends, 4) provision of nutritional advice and modelling food behaviour by parents and health professionals, 5) food vendors' services and social qualities. Conclusions The family presents an opportunity for promoting healthy dietary behaviours between family members. Peer groups could be harnessed to promote healthy dietary behaviours among adolescents and youth. Empowering food vendors to provide healthier and safer food options could enhance healthier food sourcing, purchasing and consumption in African low-income urban communities.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wanjohi MN, Pradeilles R, Asiki G, Holdsworth M, Kimani-Murage EW, Muthuri SK, Irache A, Laar A, Zotor F, Tandoh A, Klomegah S, Graham F, Araba Osei-Kwasi H, Green MA, Coleman N, Mensah K, Akparibo R, Aryeteey R, Rousham EK, Bricas N, Bohr M, Griffiths P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Health Nutrition

Year: 2023

Volume: 26

Issue: 3

Pages: 661-673

Print publication date: 01/03/2023

Online publication date: 28/10/2022

Acceptance date: 02/04/2022

Date deposited: 22/11/2022

ISSN (print): 1368-9800

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2727

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1368980022002270


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Funder referenceFunder name
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Seattle, WA
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research (BBSRC)
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC),
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Programme [grant number OPP1110043]
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Foundation Award led by the MRC [grant number MR/P025153/1]
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)