Soy and vegetable gardening with skills training and soy consumption are cost effective methods to improve the blood lipid profiles of women in Qwa-Qwa, South Africa
A cost effectiveness (CE) analysis was performed on a nutrition intervention program that included soy consumption, soy and vegetable gardening, and skills training designed to improve blood lipid levels in women. This intervention involved ninety women of ages 19-75 years living in Qwa-Qwa, South Africa. The actual nutrition intervention lasted 18 months. Outcomes measured were low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and serum triglycerides levels. All costs for the resources used in the program were considered and categorized into four main groups: labor, materials, transport, and miscellaneous. Following the recommendation for evaluating nutrition projects, a common base year of 2012 and discount rate of 5% were selected. The CE was calculated based on the total cost of the intervention program for all 90 women served and the number of women who achieved normal levels for a specified serum lipid during the 18 months of intervention. The CE ratios were expressed as the per subject cost of achieving the normal level of a specified serum lipid for example, HDL cholesterol. The average cost (in 2012 dollars) was approximately $869 per person. The CE ratio for serum HDL cholesterol was the lowest compared to the CE ratios of other indicators of serum lipids. Material costs accounted for the majority of the costs (71%) followed by labor (22%). Training materials, gardening tools, soy preparation equipment, and seeds, which are critical for increasing the scale of the program, together contributed to a relatively low percentage of the total cost of materials (37%). In addition, it was noted that the per person cost is likely to decrease if the scale of the intervention is increased. Soy and vegetable gardening with skill training and soy consumption may be a feasible population-wide approach to prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases among women in Qwa-Qwa, South Africa.
Key words: Cardiovascular diseases, cost effectiveness, high-density lipoprotein, lipid profile, nutrition intervention, Qwa-Qwa, South Africa, soybean, vegetable gardening, women