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Food consumption patterns, socio- demographic status and nutritional risks of women in low and middle income communities in Kwandengezi, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

C Gumede
S Napier


Food consumption patterns have changed dramatically in recent times. Traditional diets are replaced by “westernised diets” causing nutritional risks like malnutrition. Unemployment and lack of nutrition education have an impact on communities, in terms of the foods being purchased and consumed. This research seeks to establish a true reflection of the nutritional status, food intake patterns of the communities participating in the study and influencing factors. This is to estimate if the low income community, the north section is in a more disadvantaged situation when compared to the middle income community, the south section. The objective was to determine the socio-demographic status, food consumption patterns and nutritional risk of a lowincome and middle-income community that reside in KwaNdengezi Township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.The research being undertaken consists of descriptive and theoretical studies. Upon consention, participants data were collected by means of an interview setting. A set of questionnaires included, Socio-demographic, Food Frequency and 24-Hour Recall questions. The anthropometric measurements were taken in order to determine the body mass index status. Both sections of the township were affected by unemployment. The education status of the participants showed concern as both sections had fewer graduates. The mean Food Variety Scores (FVS) (±SD) for all items consumed from various food groups during seven days, indicated a medium where both sections had a good dietary diversity score ranging from 7-9 food groups, which summarize the food group diversity as being in the majority in the north section. The results of energy distribution of macronutrients from the average of the 24-hr recall when compared to the WHO dietary factor goals showed that the participants’ diet was well balanced, in relation to macronutrient intake for both sections but was lacking in micronutrient intake. Overweight and obesity tests showed disturbing results with majority of women caregivers in both sections found to be obese, showing risks of obesity related illnesses (NCDs). More nutrition knowledge should be geared towards educating the most vulnerable and poverty stricken communities. The micronutrient intake must be promoted at lower and middle income communities.. The government should devise and implement projects that empower women so that they are not codependent.