Original Research

Nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices of primary school children in Tshwane Metropole, South Africa

Nomsa P.S. Mamba, Lizeka Napoles, Nelly M. Mwaka
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 11, No 1 | a1846 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v11i1.1846 | © 2019 Nomsa P.S. Mamba, Lizeka Napoles, Nelly M. Mwaka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 June 2018 | Published: 30 April 2019

About the author(s)

Nomsa P.S. Mamba, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria, Gezina, Pretoria, South Africa
Lizeka Napoles, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria, Gezina, Pretoria, South Africa
Nelly M. Mwaka, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria, Gezina, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The increasing prevalence of being overweight and obesity in South African school children requires interventions that are evidence based. Nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) studies are thus needed to provide evidence for the planning of interventions that address and prevent nutrition problems in school children.

Aim: The aim of the study on which this article is based was to assess nutrition knowledge, attitudes and practices of grade 4–6 learners from three primary schools in a South African township. The article seeks to highlight the key results of this quantitative study.

Setting: The study took place in three primary schools in Mamelodi township, Pretoria, South Africa.

Methods: Data were collected from grade 4–6 learners using self-administered questionnaires. After coding and collating data using Epi infoTM, STATA was then used for analysis. A description of KAP results was carried out using simple descriptive statistics, while the associations were tested using a chi-square test.

Results: Learners displayed inadequate knowledge of a balanced diet (23%) as well as low knowledge of food groups. With regard to attitudes, the most liked food group was the drinks and snacks (72.9%), while the least liked food group was the fruits and vegetables (8.11%). With regard to practices, the most frequently consumed food group was the drinks and snacks (72.6%), while fruits and vegetables were the least consumed. However, 78.91% of the learners displayed very good nutrition-related practices, such as making their own breakfast and eating breakfast.

Conclusion: The inadequate knowledge displayed by learners indicates a gap with nutrition education in the curriculum. There is a need to explore innovative and novel approaches to improve nutrition knowledge of school children. Parents also need to be targeted to ensure better outcomes.


Keywords

nutrition knowledge; nutrition attitudes; nutrition practices; nutrition interventions; primary school learners; South Africa

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