Food Safety and Chemistry, Its Implication on Mental Health Among Scholars of African Descent – Perception of African Food and Health Professionals Resident in Zambia and Canada
This study was concerned with exploring the view of food experts about the safety and chemical substances involved in some of the common consumable food items that were preferred by the African scholars in various Universities across Zambia and Canada. The study is also concerned with finding out the science that deals with the composition, structure and properties of substances of the changes these food types undergo. The study focused on the entire chemical composition of the popular food group in juxtaposition to the mental health of the consumers, in particular those at the active developmental stages of full adolescence and early adulthood. Food Scientists and Mental Health experts in Manitoba Canada and Lusaka Zambia were consulted for the purpose of this research work. Using simple random sampling technique,92 respondents were selected to constitute the sample size of the study. The entire Mental Health experts and food specialists across Zambia and Canada constituted the population of the study. A researchers’ self designed instrument titled 'Food and Mental Health (FMH)’ was used in gathering data for the study. The face and content validity of the instrument were ascertained by giving the self designed 20 item structured questionnaire to a test expert in the Faculty of graduate studies of University of Manitoba for possible correction. Few of the items were reconstructed. The Reliability of the instrument was ensured at r = 0.92 using Cronbach’s Alpha Formula. Two research questions were raised and answered to correspond the two null hypotheses stated and tested in the study. Descriptive and inferential statistics were adopted in analyzing the data collected. Findings from the study revealed that the Food and Health experts had a positive perception towards the safety and mental health implication of the popular food type among the African scholars. The test of Hypotheses revealed that demographic factors like gender and level of education did not have any significant influence on the perception of the respondents towards the relationship between food consumption and the position of mental health. Recommendations were made accordingly.
Keywords - Food; Safety; Mental Health.