A review of dietary surveys in the adult South African population from 2000 to 2015

Mchiza, Zandile J. ; Steyn, Nelia P. ; Hill, Jillian ; Kruger, Annamarie ; Schonfeldt, Hettie ; Nel, Johanna ; Wentzel-Viljoen, Edelweiss (2015-09)

CITATION: Mchiza, Z. J. et al. 2015. A review of dietary surveys in the adult South African population from 2000 to 2015. Nutrients, 7:8227-8250, doi:10.3390/nu7095389.

The original publication is available at http://www.mdpi.com/journal/nutrients


One serious concern of health policymakers in South Africa is the fact that there is no national data on the dietary intake of adult South Africans. The only national dietary study was done in children in 1999. Hence, it becomes difficult to plan intervention and strategies to combat malnutrition without national data on adults. The current review consequently assessed all dietary studies in adults from 2000 to June 2015 in an attempt to portray typical adult dietary intakes and to assess possible dietary deficiencies. Notable findings were that, in South Africa micronutrient deficiencies are still highly prevalent and energy intakes varied between very low intakes in informal settlements to very high intakes in urban centers. The most commonly deficient food groups observed are fruit and vegetables, and dairy. This has been attributed to high prices and lack of availability of these food groups in poorer urban areas and townships. In rural areas, access to healthy foods also remains a problem. A national nutrition monitoring system is recommended in order to identify dietary deficiencies in specific population groups.

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