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The present study aimed to evaluate the knowledge and practices of public-sector primary-care health professionals and final-year students regarding the role of nutrition, physical activity and smoking cessation (lifestyle modification) in the management of chronic diseases of lifestyle within the public health-care sector.
A comparative cross-sectional descriptive quantitative study was conducted in thirty primary health-care facilities and four tertiary institutions offering medical and/or nursing programmes in Cape Town in the Western Cape Metropole. Stratified random sampling, based on geographical location, was used to select the health facilities while convenience sampling was used to select students at the tertiary institutions. A validated self-administered knowledge test was used to obtain data from the health professionals.
Differential lifestyle modification knowledge exists among both health professionals and students, with less than 10 % achieving the desired scores of 80 % or higher. The majority of health professionals seem to be promoting the theoretical concepts of lifestyle modification but experience difficulty in providing practical advice to patients. Of the health professionals evaluated, doctors appeared to have the best knowledge of lifestyle modification. Lack of time, lack of patient adherence and language barriers were given as the main barriers to providing lifestyle counselling.
The undergraduate curricula of medical and nursing students should include sufficient training on lifestyle modification, particularly practical advice on diet, physical activity and smoking cessation. Health professionals working at primary health-care facilities should be updated by providing lifestyle modification education as part of continuing medical education.
To assess the impact of a food-based intervention on blood pressure (BP) in free-living South African men and women aged 50–75 years, with drug-treated mild-to-moderate hypertension.
A double-blind controlled trial was undertaken in eighty drug-treated mild-to-moderate hypertensive subjects randomised to an intervention (n 40) or control (n 40) arm. The intervention was 8-week provision of six food items with a modified cation content (salt replacement (SOLO™), bread, margarine, stock cubes, soup mix and a flavour enhancer) and 500 ml of maas (fermented milk)/d. The control diet provided the same quantities of the targeted foods but of standard commercial composition and 500 ml/d of artificially sweetened cooldrink.
The intervention effect estimated as the contrast of the within-diet group changes in BP from baseline to post-intervention was a significant reduction of 6·2 mmHg (95 % CI 0·9, 11·4) for systolic BP. The largest intervention effect in 24 h BP was for wake systolic BP with a reduction of 5·1 mmHg (95 % CI 0·4, 9·9). For wake diastolic BP the reduction was 2·7 mmHg (95 % CI −0·2, 5·6).
Modification of the cation content of a limited number of commonly consumed foods lowers BP by a clinically significant magnitude in treated South African hypertensive patients of low socio-economic status. The magnitude of BP reduction provides motivation for a public health strategy that could be adopted through lobbying of the food industry by consumer and health agencies.
To develop and validate a short food-frequency questionnaire to assess
habitual dietary salt intake in South Africans and to allow classification
of individuals according to intakes above or below the maximum recommended
intake of 6 g salt day−1.
Cross-sectional validation study in 324 conveniently sampled men and
Repeated 24-hour urinary Na values and 24-hour dietary recalls were obtained
on three occasions. Food items consumed by >5% of the sample and
which contributed ≥50 mg Na serving−1 were
included in the questionnaire in 42 categories. A scoring system was
devised, based on Na content of one index food per category and frequency of
Positive correlations were found between Na content of 35 of the 42 food
categories in the questionnaire and total Na intake, calculated from 24-hour
recall data. Total Na content of the questionnaire was associated with Na
estimations from 24-hour recall data (r =
0.750; P < 0.0001; n = 328) and urinary Na (r = 0.152; P
= 0.0105; n = 284). Urinary Na was higher
for subjects in tertile 3 than tertile 1 of questionnaire Na content
(P < 0.05). Questionnaire
Na content of <2400 and ≥2400 mg
day−1 equated to a reference cut-off score of 48 and
corresponded to mean (standard deviation) urinary Na values of 145 (68) and
176 (99) mmol day−1, respectively (P < 0.05). Sensitivity and
specificity against urinary Na ≥100 and <100 mmol
day−1 was 12.4% and 93.9%, respectively.
A 42-item food-frequency questionnaire has been shown to have content-,
construct- and criterion-related validity, as well as internal consistency,
with regard to categorising individuals according to their habitual salt
intake; however, the devised scoring system needs to show improved
We sought to validate questionnaires concerning body image perception, body size dissatisfaction and weight-related beliefs in multi-ethnic South African mothers and their daughters.
Settings and subjects: Girls attending primary school (ages 9–12 years, n = 333) and their mothers (n = 204) were interviewed regarding their demographics and body image. Weight, height and skinfold thicknesses were measured. Body image questions and body mass index (BMI) were compared with silhouettes adapted from the Pathways Study for girls and Stunkard's body image figures for mothers. A Feel–Ideal Difference (FID) index score was created by subtracting the score of the silhouette selected by the participants as ‘Ideal’ from the one selected as most closely representing their current appearance or ‘Feel’. We hypothesised that a higher FID index score would be associated with greater body size dissatisfaction.
BMI percentiles in girls (r = 0.46, P < 0.05) and BMI in mothers (r = 0.68, P < 0.05) were positively correlated with the selected silhouettes based on size. Participants who reported feelings of being ‘fat’ and those who perceived that their family and friends were more dissatisfied with their body size had significantly higher FID index scores. Scores were lower in black than white girls (all P < 0.05). No differences were found in FID index scores between ethnic groups of mothers. Internal reliability of the ‘thin’ and ‘fat’ belief constructs for girls was demonstrated by standardised Cronbach's α values ≥0.7.
Silhouettes, FID index, ‘fat’ and ‘thin’ belief constructs (in girls) are age-appropriate, culturally sensitive and can be used in further intervention studies to understand body image.
To determine the prevalence of stunting, wasting and overweight and their determinants in 3-year-old children in the Central Region of Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Prospective cohort study.
Rural villages in the Central Region of the Limpopo Province, South Africa.
One hundred and sixty-two children who were followed from birth were included in the study. Anthropometric measurements and sociodemographic characteristics of the children were recorded.
Height-for-age Z-scores were low, with a high prevalence of stunting (48%). The children also exhibited a high prevalence of overweight (22%) and obesity (24%). Thirty-one (19%) children were both stunted and overweight. Gaining more weight within the first year of life increased the risk of being overweight at 3 years by 2.39 times (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.96–4.18) while having a greater length at 1 year was protective against stunting (odds ratio (OR) 0.41; 95% CI 0.17–0.97). Having a mother as a student increased the risk for stunting at 3 years by 18.21 times (95% CI 9.46–34.74) while having a working mother increased the risk for overweight by 17.87 times (95% CI 8.24–38.78). All these factors also appeared as risks or as being protective in children who were both overweight and stunted, as did living in a household having nine or more persons (OR 5.72; 95% CI 2.7–12.10).
The results of this study highlight the importance of evaluating anthropometric status in terms of both stunting and overweight. Furthermore, it is important to realise the importance of normal length and weight being attained at 1 year of age, since these in turn predict nutritional status at 3 years of age.
To determine the dietary intake, practices, knowledge and barriers to dietary compliance of black South African type 2 diabetic patients attending primary health-care services in urban and rural areas.
A cross-sectional survey. Dietary intake was assessed by three 24-hour recalls, and knowledge and practices by means of a structured questionnaire (n=133 men, 155 women). In-depth interviews were then conducted with 25 of the patients to explore their underlying beliefs and feelings with respect to their disease. Trained interviewers measured weight, height and blood pressure. A fasting venous blood sample was collected from each participant in order to evaluate glycaemic control.
An urban area (Sheshego) and rural areas near Pietersburg in the Northern Province of South Africa.
The sample comprised 59 men and 75 women from urban areas and 74 men and 80 women from rural areas. All were over 40 years of age, diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for at least one year, and attended primary health-care services in the study area over a 3-month period in 1998.
Reported dietary results indicate that mean energy intakes were low (<70% of Recommended Dietary Allowance), 8086–8450 kJ day−1 and 6967–7382 kJ day−1 in men and women, respectively. Urban subjects had higher (P<0.05) intakes of animal protein and lower ratios of polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat than rural subjects. The energy distribution of macronutrients was in line with the recommendations for a prudent diet, with fat intake less than 30%, saturated fat less than 10% and carbohydrate intake greater than 55% of total energy intake. In most respects, nutrient intakes resembled a traditional African diet, although fibre intake was low in terms of the recommended 3–6 g/1000 kJ. More than 90% of patients ate three meals a day, yet only 32–47% had a morning snack and 19–27% had a late evening snack. The majority of patients indicated that they followed a special diet, which had been given to them by a doctor or a nurse. Only 3.4–6.1% were treated by diet alone. Poor glycaemic control was found in both urban and rural participants, with more than half of subjects having fasting plasma glucose above 8 mmol l−1 and more than 35% having plasma glycosylated haemoglobin level above 8.6%. High triglyceride levels were found in 24 to 25% of men and in 17 to 18% of women. Obesity (body mass index ≥30 kgm−2) was prevalent in 15 to 16% of men compared with 35 to 47% of women; elevated blood pressure (≥160/95 mmHg) was least prevalent in rural women (25.9%) and most prevalent in urban men (42.4%).
The majority of black, type 2 diabetic patients studied showed poor glycaemic control. Additionally, many had dyslipidaemia, were obese and/or had an elevated blood pressure. Quantitative and qualitative findings indicated that these patients frequently received incorrect and inappropriate dietary advice from health educators.
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