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To develop a nutrition screening tool for use in older South Africans.
A cross-sectional validation study in 283 free-living and institutionalised black South Africans (60+ years).
Trained fieldworkers administered a 24-hour recall and the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) screening tool, and performed anthropometric measurements and physical function tests. Cognitive function was assessed using a validated version of the Six-Item Cognitive Impairment Test. Biochemical indicators assessed included serum albumin, haemoglobin, ferritin, vitamin B12, red-blood-cell folate, cholesterol and vitamin C. The MNA was used as the gold standard against which a novel screening tool was developed using a six-step systematic approach, namely: correspondence analysis; identification of key questions; determination of internal consistency; correlational analyses with objective measures; determination of reference cut-off values for categories of nutritional risk; and determination of sensitivity and specificity.
The new screening tool includes nine separate concepts, comprising a total of 14 questions, as well as measurement of mid-upper arm circumference. The new tool score was positively associated with level of independence in either basic activities of daily living (r = 0.472) or the more complex instrumental activities of daily living (r = 0.233). A three-category scoring system of nutritional risk was developed and shown to significantly characterise subjects according to physical function tests, level of independence and cognitive function. The new tool has good sensitivity (87.5%) and specificity (95.0%) compared with the MNA scoring system. It has a very high negative predictive value (99.5%), which means that the tool is unlikely to falsely classify subjects as well nourished/at risk when they are in fact malnourished.
A novel screening tool has been shown to have content-, construct- and criterion-related validity, and the individual items have been shown to have good internal consistency. Further validation of the tool in a new population of elderly Africans is warranted.
To determine the level of knowledge regarding iodine nutrition and its relationship with socio-economic status in the South African population.
A cross-sectional population survey collecting questionnaire information on knowledge of iodine nutrition and sociodemographic variables in a multistage, stratified, cluster study sample, representative of the adult South African population.
Home visits and personal interviews in the language of the respondent.
Data were collected from one adult in each of the selected 2164 households, and the participation rate was 98%.
Only 15.4% of respondents correctly identified iodised salt as the primary dietary source of iodine, 16.2% knew the thyroid gland needs iodine for its functioning, and a mere 3.9% considered brain damage, and 0.8% considered cretinism, as the most important health consequence of iodine deficiency. Compared with respondents from high socio-economic households, respondents from low socio-economic households were considerably less informed about aspects of iodine nutrition covered in this study.
The knowledge level of iodine nutrition is low among South Africans, particularly among the low socio-economic groups. These data suggest that the international emphasis on brain damage resulting from iodine deficiency has not been conveyed successfully to the consumer level in this country.
There is a paucity of data on the micronutrient status of low-income, lactating South African women and their infants under 6 months of age. The aim of this study was to elucidate the level of anaemia and vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in peri-urban breast-feeding women and their young infants.
Cross-sectional study including anthropometric, biochemical and infant feeding data.
Peri-urban settlement in Cape Town, South Africa.
Breast-feeding women (n = 113) and their infants (aged 1–6 months) attending a peri-urban clinic.
Mean (standard deviation (SD)) haemoglobin (Hb) of the lactating mothers was 12.4 (1.3) gdl−1, with 32% found to be anaemic (Hb < 12 g dl−1). Maternal serum retinol was 49.8 (SD 13.3) μg dl−1, with 4.5% VAD. Using breast milk, mean (SD) retinol concentration was found to be 70.6 (24.6) μg dl−1 and 15.7 (8.3) μg/g milk fat, with 13% below the cut-off level of <8μg/g fat. There was no correlation found between breast milk retinol and infant serum retinol. Z-scores (SD) of height-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-height were –0.69 (0.81), 0.89 (1.01) and 1.78 (0.83), respectively. Mean (SD) infant Hb was 10.9 (1.1) g dl−1, with the prevalence of anaemia being 50%, 33% and 12% using Hb cut-offs below 11 g dl−1, 10.5 g dl−1 and 9.5 g dl−1, respectively. Mean (SD) infant serum retinol was 26.9 (7.2) μg dl−1, with 10% being VAD. None of the infants was exclusively breast-fed, 22% were predominantly breast-fed and 787percnt; received complementary (mixed) breast-feeding. Thirty-two per cent of infants received weaning foods at an exceptionally young age (≤1 month old).
A high rate of anaemia is present in lactating women residing in resource-poor settings. Moreover, their seemingly healthy infants under 6 months of age are at an elevated risk of developing early-onset anaemia and at lower risk of VAD.
(1) To identify the major sources of nutrition information, and the perceived credibility thereof, among urban black South African women; and (2) to determine the level of knowledge regarding nutrition, particularly regarding the topic of obesity.
A cross–sectional descriptive study that was both qualitative (focus groups) and quantitative (individual questionnaires). Three hundred and ninety–four black women aged 17–49 years were conveniently sampled from the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces in South Africa.
Four focus groups were held with 39 women to identify common themes relating to nutrition knowledge. Based on these data, a questionnaire instrument was developed and administered to 394 women by trained fieldworkers.
The most frequently encountered source of nutrition information was the media, particularly the radio and TV (73.4% and 72.1% of subjects, respectively, obtained information from this source in the past year), followed by family/friends (64.6%). Despite only 48.5% of subjects having received nutrition information from a health professional, this was the most highly credible information source. Factors being most influential in choice of foods were taste, preferences of the rest of the family, and price. A lack of knowledge on certain aspects of nutrition was identified, as well as misconceptions regarding diet and obesity.
To improve nutrition knowledge and the effectiveness of nutrition education activities in South Africa, it is recommended that health and nutrition educators become more actively involved with the training of health professionals, particularly those engaged in delivery of services at primary care level, and in turn encourage health professionals to engage more with media sources. Nutrition messages delivered from health professionals via the media will enable public exposure to nutrition information which is not only easily accessible but also perceived to be highly credible.
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