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The study was designed to determine the food consumption pattern and nutritional status of Okada riders in Ikwuano L.G.A. A total of 440 respondents were selected using simple random sampling technique but 375 distributed questionnaires were retrieved and analyzed.  Age status of the respondents showed that most of them were 21-26 (20.8%), 27-32 (46.9%) and 33-38 (23.5%), 39-44 (6.4%), >44 (2.4%) years of age. There were more single (81.9%) than married (17.3%) respondents. Family size status of the respondents’ household revealed that most of them were either 4-6 (45.3%) or 7-9 (32.3%) in number. More than half (52.5%) of the respondents had secondary education while the rest of them were either primary school leavers (27.2%) or graduates from tertiary institutions (17.6%).  Half (50.9%) of the ‘Okada Riders’ acquired their motorcycles on hire purchase basis while a good number (28.3%) of them fully purchased the item. The respondents fully purchased the motorcycle at N141, 000-N160, 000 (27.2%) while hire purchases basis did cost between N196, 000- N200, 000. About three-quarter of the okada riders spent below N5, 000 monthly on Okada maintenance. However no form of remittance was made to the government by the respondents. Most (66.6%) of the respondents consumed foods twice daily while a good number (24.3%) of them ate once daily. Also more respondents claimed to eat enough of each meal than those who did not (70.1% vs 29.9%). Results on meal skipping showed that quite a good number (24.3%) of them skipped breakfast (14.3%), lunch (9.6%) or dinner (1.3%). Also, results revealed that some of the respondents ate only when hungry (39.2%) or less busy (32.3%). Eating out was found to be familiar with the respondents as results showed that percentage of okada riders that normally ate out (62.4%) was greater than those respondents accustomed to eating home meals (37.6%).  Garri and soup (53.9%), rice and beans (10%) were found to be the respondents’ favorite foods. These foods were preferred by the respondents because they gave them energy to work (32.5%), highly nutritious (20.3%) and affordable (27.0%). A plate of food was obtained at the cost of N160-N200 (46.4%) or N210-N250 (38.4%). The respondents either ate normal (46.7%) or more (42.7%) when stressed. The results on the respondents lifestyle practices was characterized by regular (>3x) alcohol consumption (64.2%) and low cigarette intake. Results on the nutritional status revealed that the majority (91.4% and 96.8%) of the respondent’s nutritional status were classified normal using Body mass Index and WHR status respectively.


Title page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

Table of contents v

List of tables ix

Abstract x



1.1    Statement of the Problem 4

1.2    Objectives of the Study 6

1.3    Significance of the Study 6



2.1   Food Consumption Pattern 8

2.2   Factors Affecting Food Consumption Pattern 9

2.2.1 Cultural factors 9  

2.2.2 Geographical factors 10

2.2.3 Individual food preferences and beliefs 10

2.2.4 Environmental factors 10

2.2.5 Socio-economic factors 11

2.3    Methods of Assessing Food Consumption of an Individual 12

2.3.1 Food records 12

2.3.2 24-hour dietary recall 12

2.3.3 Food frequency questionnaire 13

2.3.4 Diet histories 14

2.3.5 Food habit questionnaires 15

2.4 Okada Riders 15

2.5 Foods, Food Groups and Food Nutrients 16

2.5.1 Foods 16

2.5.2 Food groups 17

2.5.3 Food nutrients 18 Carbohydrate 18 Protein 18 Lipids or fats and oil 19 Minerals 19 Vitamins 20 Water 21

2.6 Nutritional Guideline for a Healthy Life of an Adult 21

2.6.1 Go for healthy foods 22

2.6.2 Go for the legume 22

2.6.3 Consume whole grains 22

2.6.4 Reduce fat intake 23

2.6.5 Watch out for excessive salt intake 23

2.6.6 Be more physically active 23

2.6.7 Drink plenty of water 24

2.6.8 Create time for relaxation and sleep 24

2.6.9 Get preventive screenings 24

2.7 Nutritional Status and Nutrition Assessment 25

2.7.1 Meaning of nutritional status 25

2.7.2 Methods of assessing nutritional status 25

2.7.3 The goals of nutritional assessment 26

2.8 Anthropometry 27

2.8.1 Body mass index 27

2.8.2 Height measurement 27

2.8.3 Weight measurement 28

2.8.4 Waist circumference 28

2.8.5 Skin fold measurement 28



3.1 Study Design 29

3.2 Area of Study 29

3.3   Population of the Study 30

3.4   Sampling and Sampling Techniques 30

3.4.1 Sample size 30

3.4.2 Sampling procedure 31

3.5 Preliminary Activities 32

3.5.1 Preliminary visits 32

3.5.2 Training of research assistants 32

3.5.3 Informed consent 32

3.6 Data Collection 32

3.6.1 Questionnaire administration 32

3.6.2 Interview 33

3.6.3 Anthropometric measurements 33 Weight measurement 33 Height measurement 34 Body mass index 34 Body circumference 34

3.6.4 Food consumption pattern 35

3.7 Data Analysis 35

3.8 Statistical Analysis 36      



4.1 Basic Characteristics of Respondents 38

4.2 Socio-Economic Characteristics of Respondents 40

4.3 Okada Acquisition and Maintenance 42

4.4 Respondents’ Food Consumption Pattern 45

4.5 Body Mass Indices and Waist Hip Ratios 52

4.6 Relationship between Respondents’ Food Consumption Pattern and their

       Body Mass Indices/Waist Hip Ratios 54

4.7 24 Hour Dietary Recall of Okada Riders 59

4.8 Respondents’ Frequency of Food Consumption 62




5.1 Conclusion 66

5.2 Recommendations 66

REFERENCES            67








   Table                                                                                                                   Page

 4.1 Basic Characteristics of Respondents 38

 4. 2 Socio-Economic Characteristics of Respondents 41

 4.3 Okada Acquisition and Maintenance 44

 4.4a: Respondents’ Food Consumption Pattern 50

 4.4b: Continuation of respondents’ Food Consumption Pattern 51

 4.5 Body Mass Indices and Waist Hip Ratios of Okada Riders 53

 4.6a: Relationship between Respondents’ Food Consumption Pattern and BMI 55

 4.6b Relationship between respondents food consumption

 pattern and waist hip ratios 58

Table 4.7 24 Hour Dietary Recall of Okada Riders 61

Table 4.8 Food Frequency of Respondent’s Food Consumption 65




The type and the amount of food an individual chooses to consume not only affects his or her well-being, but also has implications for the society as a whole (Hawarlin, 2007). The choices of which foods to eat, where to eat and when to eat are intensely personal and influenced by not only prices and income, but also time constraints, family structure and cultural factors. The type and amount of food we eat is a key universal factor that affects our health (Ene-Obong, 2001). Ojofeitimi (2009) documented that good food consumption pattern provides adequate nutrients needed by the body to reduce vulnerability to diseases and parasitic infections and also increases the strength for tasks requiring physical efforts and mental ability. Poor food consumption pattern  can predispose one to nutrition-related problems, such as micronutrient deficiency and non-communicable chronic diseases (NCCDs) such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and some forms of cancers (breast, colon and prostate)  (Ojofeitimi, 2009).

The history of the motorcycle began in the second half of the 19th century. The very first commercial design for a self-propelled bicycle was a three-wheel design called the Butler petrol cycle built by Edward Butler in England in 1884 (Johnson, 2005). He exhibited his plans for the vehicle at the Stanley Cycle Show in London in 1884, two years earlier than Karl Benz invented his first automobile, who is generally recognized as the inventor of the modern automobile. Another early internal combustion petroleum-fueled motorcycle was the petroleum Reitwagen. It was designed and built by the German inventors GoitliebParmler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885 (Leinhard, 2005).

In 1894, Hildebrand and Wolfmüller was the first series production motorcycle and the first to be called a motorcycle (German: motorrad) (Chadwick, 2001; Walker, 2006; Bill, 2008 and Vance, 2009). However, only a few hundred examples of this motorcycle were ever built by different manufacturers, such as Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda in the 1950s.

The use of “Okada” (motorcycle taxis) in Nigeria predates the Babangida administration (Olubomehin, 2012). The name “okada” was borrowed from “Okada” Airline, a Nigerian local airline in Benin, now defunct. The motorcycle transport was nicknamed after the airline, because they could manoeuvre   through the heavy traffic of Lagos and take passengers to their destinations in a timely manner; in the same way as the airline (Olubomehin, 2012). Motorcycle taxis or “okadas” are commonly used in many West African countries including Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Sierra Leone (Mbella, 2014). In the 1980s, following an economic downturn in Nigeria, combined with rapid public transportation, unemployed youths began to use motorcycle to earn money by transporting passengers to their doorsteps. Okada is now one of the primary modes of transportation in Nigeria (Olowosagba, 2016).

In June 2009, the government of Abia state banned the use of motorcycles popularly known as “okada” as a means of transportation in Umuahia city. The reason was based on the government perception that most of the incidence of kidnapping and armed robbery perpetrated in the state were carried out with the use of motorcycles which aid criminals to escape after carrying out their nefarious activities (Onuoha, 2009). This gives rise to massive use of “okada” as a means of transportation in Ikwuano L.G.A. The effect of poor nutritional status according to Herder (2004) is associated with low birth weight, poor quality of life and mortality. The implications of poor nutritional status can be short-term or long-term (Park, 2009).The short-term implications include immune implication, such as susceptibility to infection and growth implication such as stunting and wasting. Long-term implications include cognitive implication, such as reduced problem-solving abilities and attention-deficit disorder (Park, 2009). All these are related to poor nutritional status.

Nutritional status is the condition of the body as a result of the intake, absorption and use of nutrients and the influence of disease-related factors (Edington, 1999). According to Wardlaw (1999) nutritional status is the nutritional health of a person as determined by anthropometric assessment, biochemical assessment, clinical assessment and diet history, otherwise called the ABCD’s of nutritional assessment.

Anthropometric assessment refers to the use of body measurements, such as weight, height, skin-fold thickness, arm circumference, head circumference and chest circumference in assessing nutritional status (Wardlaw, 1999). Biochemical assessment entails the analysis of blood, urine, saliva, or other body fluids in order to assess nutritional status (Wardlaw, 1999).

Clinical assessment involves physical examination of the general appearance of skin, eye, tongue, hair, etc, as a means of determining the nutritional status of individuals (Wardlaw, 1999). Diet history is another method of assessing nutritional status and involves taking record of the food intake of previous days’ meals (Wardlaw, 1999).

 The effects of poor consumption pattern on okada riders and commercial drivers include heart disease, stroke, obesity and other chronic diseases (Davis, 2000).The main prevalence of these diseases are related to poor food consumption pattern, lack of physical activity, obesity and unhealthy diet such as tobacco smoking which is associated with many chronic infections that leads to chronic diseases because of the shared impact of these risk factors, a concerted effort to modify health behaviors inevitably has positive repercussions on these diseases and many other conditions (Davis, 2000 ).    


There is a growing scientific data that non-communicable chronic diseases (NCCDs) are often as a result of poor food consumption (Ojofeitimi, 2009). It has also been documented that inadequate intake of essential nutrients have resulted in varying degrees of poor nutritional states like kwashiorkor, vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency anaemia and vitamin C deficiency (Ozumbaet al., 1999). The choice of the type and amount of food to consume that will provide the required nutrients needed for normal functioning of the body becomes a problem as it results in varying degrees of poor nutritional state (Ozumbaet al., 1999). The main problem in Nigeria is undernutrition and obesity which is as a result of inadequate consumption of food or consumption of less nutritious foods which predisposes people to infections and diseases, thereby reducing the working power of the country (Bleiberget al., 2008).

Food prices are primary determinants of food consumption patterns and high food prices may have negative effects on nutritional status and health, especially among poor people (Davis, 2000). Food preference plays important role in food choices and food consumption in adults (Birch, 1997). Poor or bad food consumption leads to diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, scurvy, stroke, heart disease and kidney disorders (Falk et al., 1996). There is a relationship between income level and food intake, low-income groups tend to consume lower amount of food than higher income groups (Dibsdall and Bisogni, 2003). Disease, physical and physiological changes can make people feel helpless and hopeless about the lack of control over food choices (Fiataron eet al., 2009). The consequences of decreased food choices and potentially decreased nutritional health, monetary consideration and convenience were predictors of food consumption with taste compromised if ease of preparation was strengthened (Fiatarone et al., 2009). The above situation necessitated the investigation into the food consumption pattern of “Okada” riders in Ikwuano L.G.A.


The main objective of this study is to investigate the food consumption pattern and nutritional status of “okada” riders in Ikwuano L.G.A.

The specific objectives of the study are to:

i. ascertain the food consumption pattern of “okada” riders in the study area, using the food frequency questionnaire and 24-hour dietary recall.

ii. determine their nutritional status, using anthropometry.

iii. determine the relationship between their nutritional status and food consumption pattern.

iv. identify factors affecting food consumption pattern.


This work will give insight on the nutritional status of the population. It will allow for comparison between the nutritional status and food consumption pattern of “okada” riders in the study area, as well as elucidate the factors affecting the food consumption pattern of the study population. The information will provide a fundamental data for nutritionists, policy makers and advocates of food and nutrition. The nutritionists will benefit from this study in such a way that it will help them achieve optimal health of this group of people by providing information and advice about health, food choices and healthy food consumption. The data from this study will also help the policy makers and advocates of food and nutrition to achieve their goals by incorporating food and nutrition into development plans and allocation of adequate resources towards solving the problems pertaining to food and nutrition at all levels. Ministries like the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), church, groups like associations in the communities and individuals suffering from diseases such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus due to poor consumption pattern can benefit by knowing the causes and the preventive measures.

The study will go a long way in helping the stakeholders in nutrition to draw up the appropriate intervention programmes for “okada” riders in Ikwuano L.G.A., Abia state.

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