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AbstractObjective:To carry out a qualitative evidence synthesis to explore what influences the diet and physical activity of adolescents living in five countries that constitute the Transforming Adolescent Lives through Nutrition (TALENT) consortium (Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, India, South Africa and The Gambia).Design:A search of electronic databases was conducted for qualitative articles published between 2000 and 2019.Participants:Studies that explore influences on the diets and physical activity habits of adolescents aged 10–19 years.Results:Of the twelve included studies, none were identified from The Gambia or Cote D’Ivoire. The existing qualitative literature focussed on three major areas in relation to adolescents’ diet and physical activity: (1) the influence of body image and self-esteem; (2) social and environmental influences and (3) poverty. The limited existing literature focusses heavily on girls’ experiences particularly in relation to body image and dysfunctional eating practices.Conclusions:In-depth research exploring adolescents’ perceptions of diet and physical activity is needed to better understand how both boys and girls, at different stages of adolescence, perceive health, diet and physical activity. More research with young people is required especially in countries where little exists to cover a wider range of issues that play a role in diet and physical activity.

Original publication




Journal article


Public Health Nutrition


Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Publication Date





5288 - 5298