Dietary diversity amongst adults who buy at shopping malls in the Nelson Mandela Bay area
Dietary diversity is recognized as vital for health. The level of dietary diversity and contributing factors could possibly be used as proxy indicators for food insecurity and nutritional quality, as well as to highlight gaps in nutrition interventions, policies and programmes, which aim at combating over- and under-nutrition.
The aim of this study was to determine the level of dietary diversity and associated factors among adults in the Nelson Mandela Bay area. A convenience, stratified sample of 480 adult participants was used in a survey to determine the level of dietary diversity and identify contributing factors.
Adults in the Nelson Mandela Bay area who shopped at shopping malls had a medium level of dietary diversity. Participants consumed on average food from 6.88 ± 1.73 food groups out of twelve, including sugars and fats. Dietary patterns found were not in line with the South African Food Based Dietary Guidelines. Factors that had a significant association with the level of dietary diversity included ethnicity, level of education, amount of money spent on food purchase per month, distance travelled to purchase food, and nutrition knowledge on dietary diversity. The results are a cause for concern, and justify a call for immediate and effective intervention, including nutrition education promotion and the implementation of current policies and programmes.