The South African Sodium Regulation (R214): Does it make provision for processed foods frequently consumed by young children?
Background. Rising levels of hypertension and the associated non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are of global public health concern. Evidence is emerging regarding the crucial role of sodium in regulating blood pressure in children. Processed foods high in fat, sugar or sodium have been identified as a key contributing factor to childhood obesity and diet-related NCDs.
Objectives. To determine the true sodium content of processed foods frequently consumed by children aged 2 - 5 years in Tlokwe Municipality in North-West Province, South Africa, and to determine whether the current sodium regulation (R214) includes highsodium foods frequently consumed by young children.
Methods. Frequently counsumed processed foods were identified using an unquantified food frequency questionnaire. Atomic absorption spectrometry was used to determine the true sodium content of identified foods following microwave digestion.
Results. True sodium content was identified in 45 food products from 15 food categories. The majority of the products (86.7%) were included in R214. The measured sodium content of products differed from what was reported on the nutrition information labels, with differences ranging from 4.1% to 40.7%.
Conclusion. The majority of the food products consumed by children in this study are included in R214. These findings provide valuable information to support future studies on a larger set of processed foods frequently consumed by young children.
M Korff, Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN), Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
M Wicks, Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN), Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
T van Zyl, Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN), Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
B van der Westhuizen, Food Evolution Research Laboratory, School of Tourism and Hospitality, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
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Date published: 2020-04-23
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