Nutritional status of children on the National School Nutrition Programme in Capricorn District, Limpopo Province, South Africa
CITATION: Malongane, F. & Mbhenyane, X. G. 2017. Nutritional status of children on the National School Nutrition Programme in Capricorn District, Limpopo Province, South Africa. South African Journal of Child Health, 11(1):11-15, doi:10.7196/SAJCH.2017.v11i1.1124.
The original publication is available at http://www.sajch.org.za
Background. School feeding programmes are intended to alleviate short-term hunger, improve nutrition and cognition of children, andprovide incomes to families.Objectives. To assess the nutritional status of children receiving meals provided by the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) inCapricorn Municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa.Methods. The setting was 18 randomly selected schools on the NSNP in Capricorn District. The total sample comprised 602 randomlyselected schoolchildren from grades 4 to 7, aged 10 (26.6%), 11 (35.4%) and 12 (35.4%). Socioeconomic characteristics, anthropometricmeasurements, dietary patterns and school attendance were determined. Children were interviewed to assess their nutritional status using avalidated questionnaire. Descriptive statistics such as means, standard deviations (SDs) and ranges were used for socioeconomic parametersand dietary patterns, and z-scores for anthropometric data.Results. The results showed that boys (9.5%) and girls (7.8% ) were underweight. The prevalence of stunting in the sample was 11.3% forboys and 7.4% for girls, whereas boys (3.6%) and girls (4.2%)were wasted, with az-score of –2 SD. School attendance was good.Conclusion. The nutritional status of most subjects in the study was within the acceptable range as indicated by the assessment of growthusing anthropometric measurements.