Using South African food companies’ nutrition strategies and consumer knowledge, attitudes and practices pertaining to nutrition information, to develop guidelines for the promotion of the prevention of chronic diseases of lifestyle

Kriek, Louise (2009-12)

Thesis (MNutr (Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. Human Nutrition))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Embargo expiry date: 2010-07-31 plt 2010

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The prevalence of chronic diseases of lifestyle such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are increasing worldwide due to changes in lifestyle patterns, including changes in the food consumption patterns of consumers. There are numerous players who need to be involved in addressing current lifestyle patterns and in encouraging positive behaviour change. Food companies have a role in evaluating the composition of the products that they offer, as well as in educating consumers with regard to healthy eating practices through both the on-pack information that they supply and in their nutrition strategies and programmes. The main objective of the study was to investigate the nutrition strategies that food companies in South Africa use to communicate with the consumers and to compare it with the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the consumers towards the nutrition information that they receive. The secondary objective was to develop guidelines for food companies in their promotion of the prevention of chronic diseases of lifestyle. Methodology The study population consisted of a sample of 7 food companies operating in South Africa and a sample of 230 South African consumers. Data were collected through test questionnaires aimed at each specific study population. The data were analysed statistically for each study population and the data between the two study populations were compared. Results Most food companies that participated stated that they have a nutrition strategy which outlines their consumer communication policy, but none of these were made available to the researcher. Seventy-one percent of the food companies also indicated that they address chronic diseases of lifestyle in their nutrition strategies, with cardiovascular disease being the main focus. The medium used most frequently by food companies for nutrition education of the consumer is the food label. The majority of food companies agree that they do have a responsibility towards the education of the consumer, but stated that it is not solely their responsibility. Ninety-six percent of consumers read (always or sometimes) the labels of food products when making a purchase. The older the consumer, the more unlikely they are to read the ingredients statement on the label. Consumers are most concerned with cardiovascular disease when purchasing food products. Ninety-five percent of consumers agreed that food companies have a responsibility towards them with regard to nutrition education. The consumers indicated that they prefer food labels and television as the medium for nutrition education, but that they trust doctors and nutritionists the most to relay nutrition messages. Conclusion Consumer education on the prevention of chronic diseases of lifestyle is essential if the behaviour change, necessary to address their rising prevalence, is to become a part of consumers’ lifestyles. Food companies should be actively involved with consumer education pertaining to healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits. Communication with regard to nutrition education is critical and should be consistent with an integrated approach involving all the role players including the food industry, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Education (DOE).

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die prevalensie van kroniese lewensstyl siektes soos hartvatsiektes, kanker, tipe 2 diabetes mellitus en vetsug is wêreldwyd aan die toeneem weens ’n verandering in die lewenstyl van verbruikers wat ’n weer ‘n verandering in eetgewoontes teweeg bring. Daar is verskeie rolspelers betrokke wat ’n bydrae kan lewer om die huidige lewensstyl patrone van verbruikers aan te spreek en om positiewe gedragsveranderinge te bevorder. Voedselmaatskappye speel ‘n tweeledige rol: deur die samestelling van voedselprodukte wat hulle versprei te evalueer, en deur die verbruiker op te voed oor gesonde eetgewoontes. Maatskappye se voedingstrategieë en programme, asook die verpakking van produkte, kan gebruik word om voedingsinligting te verskaf. Die studie se hoof doelwit was om die voedingstrategieё te ondersoek wat deur voedselmaatskappye in Suid Afrika gebruik word en om dit te vergelyk met die kennis, houding en praktyke van die verbruiker teenoor voedingsinligting wat hulle ontvang. Die sekondêre doelwit was om riglyne vir voedselmaatskappye te ontwikkel ter ondersteuning van die maatskappye se inisiatiewe om kroniese lewensstyl siektes te voorkom. Metodologie Die studiepopulasie het bestaan uit ’n steekproef van 7 voedselmaatskappye wat in Suid Afrika werksaam is en ‘n steekproef van 230 Suid Afrikaanse verbruikers. Data is ingesamel deur twee uitgetoetsde vraelyste te gebruik wat spesifiek geteiken was vir elke studie populasie. Die data is statisties geanaliseer vir elke studie populasie en die studie populasies is ook met mekaar vergelyk. Resultate Die meeste voedselmaatskappye wat deelgeneem het aan die studie verklaar dat hulle ‘n voedingstrategie het wat die wyse waarop daar met die verbruiker kommunikeer word uitstippel, nogtans was geeneen van die voedingstrategieë beskikbaar gestel aan die navorser nie. Een en sewentig persent van die voedselmaatskappye het ook aangedui dat kroniese lewensstyl siektes aangespreek word in hul voedingstrategieë en dat daar gefokus word op hartvatsiektes. Voedselmaatskappye gee voorkeur aan die voedseletiket as medium vir voedingvoorligting aan die verbruiker. Die meeste voedselmaatskappye het saamgestem dat hul wel ‘n verantwoordelikheid het teenoor die verbruiker ten opsigte van voedingvoorligting, maar beskou dit nie as uitsluitlik hul verantwoordelikheid nie. Ses en negentig persent van die verbruikers lees voedsel etikette (altyd of soms) wanneer hul aankope doen. Dit blyk dat die ouer verbruiker minder geneig is om die bestanddelelys te lees. Verbruikers is oorwegend bekommerd oor hartvatsiektes wanneer hulle voedselaankope doen. Vyf en negentig persent van die verbruikers stem saam dat voedselmaatskappye ‘n verantwoordelikheid het teenoor verbruikers ten opsigte van voedingvoorligting. Die verbruikers gee voorkeur aan die voedsel etiket en televisie as mediums vir voedingvoorligting, maar hul vertrou meestal op dokters en voedingkundiges om die voedingboodskappe oor te dra. Gevolgtrekking Om gedragsverandering by verbruikers mee te bring met die oog daarop om die toename in kroniese lewensstyl siektes aan te spreek, is dit essensiëel om die verbruiker toe te rus met die nodige kennis oor die voorkoming van kroniese lewenstyl siektes. Voedselmaatskappye behoort aktief betrokke wees by verbruiker opvoeding oor gesonde leef- en eetgewoontes. Kommunikasie ten opsigte van voedingvoorligting moet konsekwent wees en ‘n geїntegreerde benadering moet deur alle rolspelers gevolg word, insluitende voedselmaatskappye, die Departement Gesondheid en die Onderwysdepartement.

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