Dietary patterns and food behaviours of pregnant youth : a survey in the Polokwane Local Municipality of Limpopo Province, South Africa

Bopape, M. M. ; Alberts, M. ; Mbhenyane, X. G. (2018)

CITATION: Bopape, M. M., Alberts, M. & Mbhenyane, X. G. 2018. Dietary patterns and food behaviours of pregnant youth : a survey in the Polokwane Local Municipality of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Journal of Nutrition and Health, 4(1):1-6.

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Article

Youth pregnancy continues to be a public health concern in South Africa, while nutrition during the first thousand days has become a focus of child and maternal focus and interventions. The study aimed to determine the food behaviours and dietary patterns of pregnant youth in the Polokwane Local Municipality of Limpopo province. It was a descriptive, exploratory and quantitative study. The study was conducted at five randomly selected primary health care clinics in the Polokwane Local Municipality, Limpopo province and pregnant youth aged between fifteen and twenty one years were recruited from these clinics. Sociodemographic data were collected using a validated questionnaire and dietary data were collected using a repeated twenty four hour recall and selected food frequency questionnaire. Blood was also collected to determine serum levels for iron, folate and vitamin B12. The food frequency questionnaire only included foods that are high in iron, folate and vitamin B12 as well as those food items that can enhance or inhibit iron absorption. Pregnant youth had an average of two meals per day, with breakfast being the most commonly skipped meal. There was generally less snacking as compared to studies conducted in urban areas. The nutrient intake was less than 67% of the estimated average requirements for energy, iron, folate, calcium and vitamin C and Vitamin B12. The diet was predominantly cereal-based, with a very low intake of fruit, vegetables and animal products.

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