Research

Effect of a nutrition education programme on nutritional status of children aged 3 - 5 years in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Lindelani Fhumudzani Mushaphi, A Dannhauser, C M Walsh, X G Mbhenyane, F C van Rooyen

Abstract


Background. Globally, the prevalence of chronic and acute malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency is high in young children, especially in developing countries. Nutrition education is an important intervention to address these challenges.

Objective. To determine the nutritional (anthropometric and micronutrient) status of children aged 3 - 5 years at baseline and post intervention. 

Methods. A pre-test–post-test control group design was chosen, which included eight villages (four villages in the experimental group (E); four villages in the control group (C)). The Nutrition Education Intervention Programme (NEIP) comprised ten topics emphasising healthy eating, hygiene and sanitation. 

Results. At baseline, 15% (E) - 22.4% (C) of children were stunted. Very few children were underweight in both groups (E = 2.5%; C = 8.2%) and only 2.5% of children were wasted in the E group at baseline. At baseline, about a third of children in both groups (E = 38.5%; C = 30.8%) had marginal vitamin A status (100 - 199.9 µg/L), while <10% in the E group (E = 7.7%) had vitamin A deficiency (<100 µg/L). According to the categories for indicators of iron status, the number of children who were in the ‘adequate’ category for serum iron, serum ferritin, serum transferrin and percentage transferrin saturation did not change in both groups at postintervention assessment. In both groups, nutritional status of children (both anthropometric and blood variables) did not change significantly following intervention.

Conclusion. The nutrition intervention did not have a significant effect on indicators of nutritional status, possibly owing to its short duration (12 months) and the fact that food supplementation was not included.


Authors' affiliations

Lindelani Fhumudzani Mushaphi, Department of Nutrition, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou

A Dannhauser, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Allied Health Professions, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

C M Walsh, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Allied Health Professions, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

X G Mbhenyane, Division of Human Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town

F C van Rooyen, Department of Biostatistics, School of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein

Full Text

PDF (155KB)

Keywords

Nutritional status; micronutrient status

Cite this article

South African Journal of Child Health 2015;9(3):98-102. DOI:10.7196/SAJCH.7958

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-09-10
Date published: 2015-09-23

Article Views

Abstract views: 2791
Full text views: 756

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here