Development of three microbiologically safe, sensory acceptable food products as possible supplements to the diet of undernourished children (5 – 6 years)
Thesis (Msc Food Sc (Food Science))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
The physical and mental development of underprivileged children, living in developing countries, is detrimentally affected by the exposure to poverty, malnutrition and poor health. The aim of the present study was to determine the possible risk of nutritional deficiencies of children (aged 5 – 6 years) in a low socio-economic community in the Grabouw area of the Western Cape, South Africa. The nutritional status of the children was evaluated by using anthropometric measurements (weight and height). Furthermore, the dietary intake provided by the meals offered at the schools they attended (Agapé 1 and Agapé 2), was assessed using the school menus. The latter were analysed using the FoodFinder3® computer programme (Medical Research Council of SA, Tygerberg, South Africa). Three supplementary food products (biscuit, health bar and soy milk-based drink) were subsequently developed to address possible nutritional deficiencies. The microbial stability of the products was determined, after which sensory acceptability of all three products was determined using a consumer panel consisting of children (n = 51; M:F = 27:24; 5 – 6 years) from the mentioned schools within the low socio-economic community. Anthropometric results were in agreement with those found by the National Food Consumption Survey (NFCS) (1999) and the South African Vitamin A Consultative Group (SAVACG) (1995), with stunting found to be most prevalent (16%). Only 5% of the children were found to be underweight and none were found to be wasted. The developed biscuit and health bar was found to be microbiologically safe when stored for at least 30 d at 25° and 35°C respectively, and the soy milk-based drink for 7 d if stored at refrigeration temperatures (5°C). Concerning the sensory preference, no significant difference was found between the preference for any of the developed products by the males and the females. For the specific products the preference for the biscuit did not differ significantly from the health bar, nor did the health bar differ significantly from the soy milk-based drink, but the biscuit did differ significantly (p = 0.006) from the soy milk-based drink for preference. The biscuit was found to be the most preferred of the three products and the soy milk-based drink the least. The majority of the juvenile consumer panel (95%) found all three developed food products acceptable and could, therefore, be considered possible supplementary foods in a school nutrition programme. The aim of nutritional supplementation is to supplement the existing diet and in doing so ensuring a more ideal nutrient intake closer to what is recommended by the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). It is proposed that nutritional deficiencies should, however, not only be addressed by means of nutritional supplementation, but should also be assisted by the nutrition education of the parent/guardian so as help them to make informed nutritional choices and in doing so providing their children with the nutrients necessary for optimal mental and physical development.