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The aim of this qualitative study was to test the comprehensibility of the preliminary food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) for healthy South African children aged 1–7 years. Objectives included assessing exposure to FBDG, comprehension of the proposed paediatric FBDG (PFBDG) and whether the guidelines can be used in meal planning.
Focus group discussions were used to collect data. Discussions were facilitated by the investigator in either English or Afrikaans, according to a predetermined discussion schedule. Focus groups were formed on the basis of language and socio-economic status (SES).
Areas within the City of Cape Town representing lower, middle and upper SES groups.
A total of seventy-six English- and Afrikaans-speaking mothers were contacted via randomly selected consenting preschool groups to participate voluntarily.
Most mothers reported that they do not use guidelines. They had a good grasp of the concepts of and need for PFBDG. They suggested slight alterations to wording/phrasing of the guidelines. The most problematic guidelines were those regarding starch, milk and sweet treats/drinks. No substantial differences were found between English and Afrikaans data. Differences were found between SES groups, with the upper SES groups comprehending the guidelines better.
The proposed PFBDG were well received. The target population that would benefit the most from these guidelines would be the less educated, lower SES groups. The present study shows that once the guidelines have been modified, they may be used as a comprehensive guide for nutritional education.
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