oa South African Health Review - Child nutrition : child health
The National Food Consumption Survey of 1999, among children aged 1-9 years indicated a high prevalence of stunting (21.6%) and overweight and obesity (17.1%). One in two children had an intake less than half the recommended requirements for vitamins A, C, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, calcium, iron and zinc. Studies in children with HIV report multiple micronutrient deficiencies and levels of underweight and stunting as high as 50% before commencement of antiretroviral therapy. Nutritional problems in children are currently being addressed through the Integrated Nutrition Programme. Key focus areas with goals and targets have been set for 2007. This chapter discusses information and findings of studies relating to the evaluation of the different focus areas of the Integrated Nutrition Programme. Progress has been made and targets have or are likely to be met in areas including: the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative; legislation relating to the mandatory fortification of maize meal and wheat flour with multiple micronutrients; mandatory iodization of salt; the provision of Road-to-Health Charts; and aspects relating to the National School Nutrition Programme. Other focus areas of the Integrated Nutrition Programme such as coverage of vitamin A through supplementation; legislation relating to the protection of breastfeeding mothers in the workplace and reducing morbidity and mortality in children from under-nutrition, over-nutrition and HIV / TB, require more attention if set targets are to be achieved. Key constraints in achieving the set goals and targets include high rates of household food insecurity and lack of adequate service delivery. Recommendations on how to address these challenges and strengthen the components of the Integrated Nutrition Programme are made.
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