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Bamako school age children and their diet from street vendors

, : Bamako school age children and their diet from street vendors. Sante 4(6): 413-423

Eating outside the home is very common in African cities. Food is bought from street vendors and eaten on the street. A large proportion of these consumers are school children, but little is known about what they buy, and the reasons why they make the choices they do. We therefore surveyed 494 second and sixth year primary school children in 1993. They were all enrolled at schools or Muslim colleges in both affluent and underprivileged areas of Bamako (Mali). The language used for the survey was Bambara. Almost all the children had money, mostly given by either or both of their parents and in most cases supplemented by odd jobs. The richest group of children were those in the sixth year in the more privileged areas. However, within a district or a (school) class, there was no correlation between the family's socio-economic group (SEG) and money available to the child. The proportions of children in each area, SEG and class buying the following classes of food were nearly identical; drinks, ice cream, groundnuts, fruit, cooked meals, uncooked meals, and sweets. The amount of money available correlated with the purchase of cooked or uncooked meals and drinks. The amount spent on food correlated with the money available, and the relationship is particularly clear for cooked and uncooked meals. The independence of the children in buying food represents a large part of the total daily food budget of the family. Their true diet and its nutritional value should therefore be quantified. Strategies targeting these children to help improve their diet would have a favorable effect on nutrition, because of their autonomy. Any such strategy should involve the street vendors so as to improve the quality of their products.


PMID: 7850193

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