Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables is now recognized as an important risk factor for non-communicable diseases. Ethiopia is one among the developing countries with the lowest intakes of fruits and vegetables. In Ethiopia, cereals and pulse largely dominate the food consumption baskets, while the consumption of animal-source foods and fruits and vegetables is rare. There are several factors that can potentially influence the consumption of fruits and vegetables in developing counties such as Ethiopia, including household income, price, access or availability, what consumers choose to purchase and consume, and consumer knowledge about the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables. This pilot experiment aims to address the knowledge gaps on the nutrition and health benefits of fruits and vegetables and thereby attempt to find ways to increase their consumption frequency and amount at the household level.
In order to attain the above-mentioned objective—increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables —the experiment will implement a video-based behavioral change communication targeting a sample of households in Addis Ababa. The intervention will have two treatment arms besides the comparison group. Households in the first treatment arm will be trained on the recommended behaviors regarding the consumption of fruits and vegetables like the one by WHO—i.e. at least two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day. While this intervention mimics the current practice carried out by the public health extension workers in the country, it will be aided by a video medium that features local characters. Households in the second treatment arm will be trained about the established processes or mechanisms by which the consumption of fruits and vegetables can lead to a better nutrition and health outcomes, in addition to the recommended behaviors. This treatment is intended to address the why aspect in recommended behaviors, often overlooked in standard behavioral change communication approaches.