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Nutritional status and dietary practices of 4–24-month-old children from a rural South African community

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007


Mieke Faber
Affiliation:
National Research Programme for Nutritional Intervention, Medical Research Council, Parow, South Africa
AJS Benadé
Affiliation:
National Research Programme for Nutritional Intervention, Medical Research Council, Parow, South Africa
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objectives

To assess the nutritional status and dietary practices of 4–24-month-old children (under-twos) in a rural South African community.

Design

Cross-sectional survey.

Setting

A low socioeconomic rural African community (Ndunakazi), approximately 60 km north-west of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Subjects

Children (n = 115), 4–24 months old who attended growth monitoring posts in the area.

Results

Of these under-twos, 37.3% had low vitamin A status (serum retinol < 20 μg dl−1), 65.2% were anaemic, 43.2% had serum ferritin levels < 10 μgl−1 (an indicator of low iron stores) and 15.3% were stunted. Breastfeeding was initiated by 99% of mothers. At the time of the survey, 80% of infants in the 4–12-month-old category and 56.9% of children in the 12–24-month-old category were being breastfed. Solid foods were introduced at 3.6 ± 0.8 months. Food intake reflected a high intake of carbohydrate-rich foods, and irregular intakes of fruit and vegetables, especially those rich in vitamin A. Foods of animal origin were not consumed regularly. Of these under-twos, 15.9% experienced an episode of diarrhoea during 2 weeks prior to the survey.

Conclusion

These under-twos had a poor vitamin A and iron status. Nutrition education, intervention programmes and feeding schemes should address micronutrient deficiencies, with the focus on the quality of the diet, rather than quantity.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © CABI Publishing 1999

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