The Dietary Problems of Child-Feeding Schemes in Gutu District of Masvingo, Zimbabwe

  • Lo Manwa
  • GT Ndamba
  • Li Manwa
Keywords: pre-scholar, nutritional needs, Early Childhood Development, meal assessment, health practices

Abstract

The study assessed the nutrient intake of children in Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs) and the challenges faced by schools in the provision of pre-scholar meals in Gutu Central District, Zimbabwe. The practices were evaluated in relation to pre-scholar dietary needs and the correct ECDC nutritional guidelines. A quantitative approach was employed and a cross-sectional survey research design was used. The sample consisted of twelve (12) schools from four (4) clusters, which were selected using the stratified random sampling technique from the population of eight (8) clusters in the district. Questionnaires were used to collect data from twenty-five (25) teachers and twelve (12) Teachers-In-Charge (T.I.Cs). An observation checklist provided information on the general ECDC nutritional and health practices and the meal assessment inventory provided information on ECDC meal composition. Data was presented in tables and graphs and was analysed and evaluated using the ECDC nutritional guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid. Major research findings were that all ECDCs provided meals which had nutrient inadequacy, all ECDCs did not meet expected nutritional and health standards and they all faced the same challenges in providing balanced meals. The hypothesis was thus rejected since ECDCs had bad nutritional practices. The study recommends a multi-sectoral approach to address ECDC nutritional problems and development of ECDC nutritional policy to improve on ECD service in the district.
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